Kochi: Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is organising a meeting of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi from 08th to 10th May, 2019. India is hosting this meeting in its capacity as Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific region that it assumed on 1st July, 2018 for a two-year period.
The meeting will take stock of the progress being made in carrying forward the programmes and initiatives of WCO to promote, facilitate and secure the cross-border trade in the region and the capacity building and technical assistance required to achieve this goal.
This meeting is being chaired by Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman, CBIC. Reflecting the importance of the meeting, Customs delegations from more than twenty countries of the Asia Pacific region are participating, along with senior officials of the WCO and its regional bodies, i.e. Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and Regional Intelligence Liaoning Office (RILO).
In his inaugural remarks, Chairman, CBIC reiterated the strategic principles guiding India, in its role as the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific region, which are –
Greater communication and connectivity within the region,
(ii) Harness technology advancements,
Inclusive approach, and
Consensus on core issues.
Mr Das highlighted the key focus areas on which considerable emphasis should be placed, such as implementation of trade facilitation measures, cross-border e-commerce transactions, building capacity of small island economies and the on-going review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).
Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the WCO, in his address emphasised the role of the customs in the current global scenario and the crucial role being played by the WCO in streamlining the cross border procedures, and in enhancing the security of global trade.
In addition to the discussions on the strategic priorities of the Asia Pacific region, the meeting is also deliberating on the work program of the WCO, the Vice Chair office presently being held by India, ROCB, RILO, security related issues, trade facilitation, e-commerce, performance measurement, trusted trader programmes, etc.
Recognising the importance of the collaborative approach between Customs and trade, a Trade Day was organised on 7th May, 2019 as a precursor to the meeting of the Regional Heads of Customs. In this day-long deliberation, representatives from trade & industry and think-tanks shared their insights and experiences that are expected to shape the thinking of customs administrations of the region in adopting policies and measures to promote trade facilitation and secure global trade, and promote ethical leadership.