Vietnam Customs attends WCO Council sessions

VCN - The delegation of Vietnam Customs led by Deputy Director General of the General Department of Customs Dinh Ngoc Thang attended 143/144th Sessions of the WCO Council, taking place from June 27-29, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium.
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This is the most important conference of the year for 186 WCO member Customs administrations

The session was hosted by Mr. Edward Kieswetter, Director General of South African Customs, with the participation of WCO Secretary General Ian Saunders (an American who recently took office), Directors General and leadership representatives of member Customs Administrations

The delegation of Vietnam Customs attends the 143/144th sessions of the WCO Council.
The delegation of Vietnam Customs attends the 143/144th sessions of the WCO Council.

Speaking at the opening of the session, Secretary General Ian Saunder emphasized the WCO's priorities in 2024 such as: Green Customs for sustainable development and health safety for the community; e-commerce, data strategy, technology application in customs management activities, ensuring tax revenue, thereby contributing to ensuring the budget and contributing to the national general prosperity; gender equality and diversity...

At the same time, through the 2024 theme of " Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners with Purpose", Mr. Saunders called on member Customs administrations to continue expanding relationships with public and private sector partners, take advantage of existing cooperation achievements with traditional partners, in addition to launching initiatives to exploit the advantages of stakeholders, especially in information sharing, coordination to facilitate and ensure global trade security.

Mr. Ian Saunder also reported to the council on the results that WCO has achieved in implementing the Strategic Plan for the 2023-2024 period. The Secretary General emphasized that the WCO is working together with its members to address emerging challenges in the global trade landscape as well as identify new opportunities.

Accordingly, some key areas being prioritized by the WCO include: Application of technology and reform in customs management; Green Customs; WCO transparency and governance demonstrated through the WCO Modernization Plan.

According to the agenda, leaders of member Customs administration discussed and approved the following contents: Written assessment of the customs context in 2024, Resolution on strengthening sustainable cooperation between Customs and private sector; reports of the Capacity Building Committee, Origin Technical Committee, Value Technical Committee, Compliance Committee, Standing Technical Committee, Policy Committee; budget, finance and audit issues; gender equality and diversity. The group of technical issues includes tax and trade issues, facilitation, customs procedures and control issues.

The session also carried out voting for important positions. According to the voting results, Mr. Edward Kieswetter, Director General of South African Customs, continued to be elected as Chairman of the Council and voting for members of the Policy Committee, Finance Committee, and Audit Committee by region. The session also adopted the position of Vice President of 6 regions. Accordingly, the position of Vice President of the Asia-Pacific region will be held by Hong Kong Customs (China).

Deputy Director General Dinh Ngoc Thang has a brief talk on the sidelines of the session with WCO Secretary General Mr. Ian Saunders.
Deputy Director General Dinh Ngoc Thang has a brief talk on the sidelines of the session with WCO Secretary General Mr. Ian Saunders.

On the sidelines of the session, Mr. Dinh Ngoc Thang, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs, had a brief talk with the WCO Secretary General, Director of the WCO Compliance and Facilitation Committee and Director of the WCO Capacity Building Committee to thank the WCO’s trust and support over the past time. Deputy Director General Dinh Ngoc Thang affirmed his desire to continue to make positive and proactive contributions to this largest customs cooperation forum as well as expressed his desire to continue receiving support from the WCO in the future in the process of reform, modernization and capacity building for Vietnam Customs officials.

The delegation also had meetings on the sidelines of the session with representatives of customs leaders from several countries to promote cooperative relations.

Deputy Director General Dinh Ngoc Thang and the delegation at a courtesy meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Nguyen Van Thao.
Deputy Director General Dinh Ngoc Thang and the delegation at a courtesy meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Nguyen Van Thao.

At the same time, while working in Belgium, the Vietnam Customs delegation also had a courtesy meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Nguyen Van Thao to discuss the activities of the Vietnam Customs representative at WCO.

The contributions of Vietnam Customs within the framework of WCO cooperation in general and cooperation in the WCO Asia-Pacific region in particular have been recognized and highly appreciated by the WCO.

Some outstanding contributions from 2023 up to now include: Vietnam Customs coordinated with WCO to successfully co-host the WCO Technology and Exhibition Conference in Hanoi in October 2023. This is the WCO's most important annual global conference with the participation of member Customs administrations and a technology exhibition area in the customs sector of private sector partners. The successfully organized conference left a huge impression of Vietnam Customs on WCO members as well as international friends.

In addition, within the framework of control activities, Vietnam Customs has participated in campaigns such as: Demeter (hazardous waste and other waste), Tin Can (drugs), Thunder (wild animals and plants), The Asia-Pacific Plastic Waste Project (APPWP). In particular, Vietnam Customs is a co-initiative and coordinating member of the Mekong Dragon Campaign (drugs and precursors) with China Customs.

In the field of capacity building, Vietnam Customs has coordinated with the WCO and the WCO Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity Building Office to host the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on intellectual property rights in May 2024 at Vietnam Customs School; coordinated with the WCO and the Regional Intelligence Office to organize the conference to deploy the Mekong Dragon Operation phase 6 within the framework of the WCO Asia-Pacific region in April 2024 in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Customs School has also coordinated with WCO to post overview lectures on containers developed by Vietnam Customs on the WCO's Eclik online training platform, demonstrating the contribution of Vietnam Customs in training and capacity building activities of the WCO.

From a policy-building perspective, Vietnam Customs has contributed many opinions to the development of the WCO Asia-Pacific Regional Strategic Plan for the 2024-2026 period. At the same time, proposing to be a coordinating member of priority 4 "Customs adaptability and transformation" of the Strategic Plan with Australia Customs and received support from members, to participate in developing contents related to the priority 4 t and the priority 4 implementation plan.

Notably, at the WCO Permanent Technical Committee Meeting taking place in April 2024, the representative of Vietnam Customs was selected as Chairman of the WCO Permanent Technical Committee from April, 2024 – April, 2025.

The fact that Vietnam Customs is supported to take on this position shows the WCO’s trust and appreciation for the contributions of Vietnam Customs in recent times.

By Nha Trang/ Huyen Trang

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