The PTC celebrates cooperation with other international organizations and advances key WCO initiatives

06 εδΈ€ζœˆ 2019

The Permanent Technical Committee, held its 225th/226th Sessions from 28 to 31 October 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The Meeting brought together around 120 delegates from Customs, international organizations, the private sector and academia, to discuss a plethora of topics related to key priorities under the WCO Strategic Plan.

The WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, welcomed the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Dr. Monique Eloit, who delivered a keynote address to mark the opening of the Meeting.

More information on their opening remarks is available at the following link:

Discussions relating to collaboration with international organizations followed under a panel of speakers from the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the OIE. The PTC acknowledged challenges and areas for further exploration, including promotion of risk management, use of electronic documentation, as well as strengthening interagency collaboration. The PTC also took note of the presentation by the IPPC on the International Year of Plant Health.

The PTC further discussed Globally Networked Customs (GNC) and provided guidance on relevant areas that could be addressed in an update of the GNC Handbook, and on the future discussions on interoperability and interconnectivity.

One whole day of the PTC was devoted to the E-Commerce topic to continue work on the outstanding items under the E-Commerce Package, the update/maintenance mechanism for the Framework of Standards, and the Compendium of E-Commerce case studies.  Members shared their national approaches to e-commerce and representatives from the World Trade Organization and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development presented related developments from their organizations. 

A session on Special Customs Zones (SCZs) provided a number of presentations from the private sector, insight into a recently launched WCO Research Paper, as well as the draft Guidance on Special Customs Zones. The PTC acknowledged the economic opportunities that SCZs bring, but also the important role of Customs in their establishment and functioning.

Under the Future of Customs Agenda, the PTC discussed how strategic foresight can support the WCO and its Membership in designing the Future of Customs. The speakers from international organizations and the private sector presented the methodology, use cases and relevant projects underway to illustrate its benefits and use in policymaking. The PTC welcomed the initiative and offered suggestions regarding how the Secretariat could further promote strategic foresight.

The PTC also discussed the potential applications of blockchain technology in customs and border regulatory processes, experiences with Members’ pilot programs, as well as associated benefits and challenges, and confirmed this to be a topic warranting continued attention by the WCO. The Cruise Ship Report developed by the Brussels-based Attaches Working Group on Cruise Ships was endorsed, while the PTC agreed to pursue the establishment of a working group to focus on passenger control and facilitation in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.

In terms of development of other tools, the delegates were updated on the Guidance on Small Island Economies and the Transit Compendium which will both be put forward for adoption at the next Meeting and at the Council in 2020.  In addition, the Secretariat presented the upgraded RAMMAP/SWIM platform which, among other, provides a snapshot of the Single Window environments available in the Members around the world. The platform has been populated by the information collected through a survey, the results of which will be presented in a study report in early 2020.

Under the Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP), the delegates provided insight into the challenges to accession to and implementation of conventions related to procedures and facilitation, and offered possible solutions. Other topics that were explored during the Meeting include: Members’ implementation of the Time Release Study (TRS); Customs-Railways cooperation, the further maintenance of the IMO FAL Compendium and ideas for future areas for Customs-maritime cooperation; Members’ experiences in managing transboundary movement of waste, especially plastic waste and e-waste; the Revised ECP Action Plan for Phase IV; upcoming WCO events; and the PTC Work Programme 2019-2022.

Next meeting of the PTC is scheduled from 27 to 29 April 2020 when discussions on many of the aforementioned topics will continue.