Message from the WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair
Dear Members of the WCO Asia Pacific Region,
Warm Greetings to you all! It is indeed a great privilege for India to assume the Vice-Chairmanship of the WCO Council for the Asia Pacific Region for the period 2018-2020 and we are grateful for your confidence and trust.
I acknowledge the exemplary contributions of Mr. Visvanath Das, CEO, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service and his team as the Regional Vice Chair over the last two year period (2016-2018) and would like to thank them for their leadership and for all the effort that has been invested.
I appreciate the role of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO A/P) in coordination between the WCO and the members in enforcement-related activities and of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and the Regional Training Centres (RTCs) in capacity building activities and look forward to the opportunity to working closely with them. I also appreciate the role of Customs Cooperation Funds of China, Japan and Korea which are playing important role in cooperation and capacity building efforts of this region.
As Vice-Chair, India shall have four strategic guiding principles.
First and foremost, we shall encourage greater communication and connectivity within the region so that our needs, priorities and perspectives can be seamlessly shared amongst ourselves. To this end, not only will we continue to organise regional meetings and workshops for exchange of ideas, but will also use modern technological tools such as e-platforms and video conferences to facilitate vibrant communication.
Secondly, we feel that it is imperative to harness technology advancements. Considering the large and still growing volumes of trade that we are required to handle, there does not seem to be an alternative to adopting advanced technology solutions to the twin objectives of facilitating trade, and also adequately addressing our risks. We shall endeavour to ensure that all our member administrations are adequately prepared to reap the benefits of technology on the one hand, and also to face all challenges modern technology poses before Customs.
Thirdly, it shall be our aim to give voice to the aspirations and priorities of the membership, while remaining aligned with the global discourse on various issues. While doing so, we shall seek to recognize the difference in realities within the region and endeavour to move ahead in an inclusive manner, so that the modern WCO instruments and tools being designed stay relevant and pertinent to the member administrations.
Fourthly, we would seek to evolve a consensus on core issues that are before the WCO. This would not only allow for participative discussions and exchanges within the region but would also add more force to the common positions that the region evolves.
In this process, we are confident that we could forge ahead as a vibrant Customs community for which we seek your constant support and guidance.
Regional Vice Chair of Asia Pacific Region &
Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs
Ministry of Finance, Government of India