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Strengthening Customs’ role in implementing green trade policies

10:48 | 30/06/2022

VCN - This was a topic raised at the 139/140th Session of the WCO Council (World Customs Organization - WCO) on June 23 – June 25, 2022 and the Green Customs Global Conference, which takes place from June 27- June 28, 2022.

The WCO 139/140 Annual Meeting took place from June 23 to June 25, 2022, at the WCO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. This was the most important conference of the year for the Directors General of the 184 Member Customs administrations of the World Customs Organization (WCO). It was also the first time the Directors General met directly at the headquarters of the WCO in three years, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the Directors General of all member countries emphasized the importance of this conference.

Speaking at the opening of the Conference, Mr. Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, presented the results achieved by the WCO in the Strategic Plan 2019-2022. Although some areas were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially capacity building, in general, the activities of the Secretariat achieved the set results. With the ability to adapt to the new situation, the WCOs’ activities in the development of tools and documents were carried out after three years. Those activities under the content of revenue collection exceeded the plan.

Delegations of member customs administrations take a group photo
Delegations of member customs administrations take a group photo

Mr. Mikuriya also stressed that WCO's key areas in the period 2022-2025 were data mining, assisting members in building digital customs, challenges of cross-border e-commerce, the necessity of authorized economic operator (AEO) recognition for the parties participating in cross-border e-commerce; management and use of human resources, working conditions and challenges faced by Customs authorities post-pandemic.

WCO was particularly interested in environmental issues and wished to affirm the role of Customs in particular and of WCO in general in global sustainable development efforts and environmental protection, through topics such as; green customs, building a green HS list, promoting paperless customs to reduce environmental impacts, and organizing wildlife conferences and campaigns.

The Secretary General also thanked all members for their contributions to budget and technical experts. He once again affirmed that the use of WCO's financial resources would be carried out in the most transparent and effective manner to contribute to the achievement of the priority objectives mentioned above.

According to the agenda of the conference, the Directors General of the member countries discussed and approved the following contents: reports of the Capacity Building Committee, the Technical Committee on Origin, the Technical Committee on Valuation, Compliance Committee, Standing Technical Committee, Policy Committee; report on the implementation of the Covid Action Plan; approved the WCO's Strategic Plan in the period 2022-2025 and the Implementation Plan in 2022-2023, budgeting and financial issues.

Vietnam Customs delegation attended the conference.
Vietnam Customs delegation attended the conference.

The group of technical issues was discussed, including tax and trade issues, facilitation, procedures, and control issues. The group of organizational management issues includes reporting on the harmonization and reporting of WCO work programs, green customs, border management, and working method and practices in the context of post-pandemic, and a review of funding sources that can be leveraged.

The conference also conducted the vote to elect important titles. According to the voting results, Mr. A. Al Khalifa, the President of Customs Affair Bahrain, continued to be re-elected as the Chairman of the Council and Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa was re-elected as the Deputy Secretary General of the WCO for the term 2023-2028. The meeting also voted to elect members of the Policy Committee and the Regional Financial Committee.

The 139/140th Conference is also a special conference, celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of the WCO. In the margins of the session, H.R.H Princess Astrid of Belgium honored delegates with a visit. She was accompanied with Mr. Vincent Van Peteham, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister.

Following the council session, the WCO hosted the Green Customs Global Conference on June 27-28, 2022. The theme of the Conference was "Strengthening Customs’ role in implementing green trade policies to protect the environment".

The conference was attended by leaders of Customs authorities, representatives of international organizations, researchers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and environmental policymakers.

The objective of the conference was to foster a high-level strategic dialogue aimed at defining Customs actions and formulating the WCO's agenda on sustainability, as well as contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs).

The discussion content of the conference would revolve around the topics of circular economies, countries' experiences in managing the movement of waste across borders, HS and other trade measures and the actions of customs authorities.

In the margins of the conference, the Vietnam Customs delegation had meetings and worked with Customs authorities of UK, Netherlands, France, United Arab Emirates, Germany, USA, Korea and China to further promote cooperation activities being conducted by Vietnam Customs and customs coordination of countries.

By Nha Trang/Thanh Thuy