The 125th/126th Annual Sessions of the WCO Council was held in Brussels from 11th to 13th June, 2015. Mr. Zouhair Chorfi, the Director General of the Moroccan Customs Administration, chaired the session which was participated by Directors Generals of Customs representing 180 Members of the WCO. Malaysian delegation was headed by Dato’ Sri Khazali Hj. Ahmad, Director General, RMCD who also attended the sessions in his capacity as the WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair. He was assisted by Ms. Nor Haziah Abd. Wahab, Deputy Director, International Affairs and Mr. Sazali Mohamad, Senior Assistant Director of Customs I, WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair Secretariat.
The discussions during the meeting were guided by four specific issues raised by the Chairperson, namely; digital Customs, performance measurement, strategic planning, and Coordinated Border Management (CBM).
The Council celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade by adopting a third pillar, “Customs to Other Government Agencies and Inter-Government Agencies”, as well as the incorporation of standards for “Pre-loading Advance Cargo Information” with respect to air cargo to facilitate a first layer of security risk analysis in collaboration with civil aviation authorities.
Thailand and Sierra Leone deposited their instruments of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention, making them the 100th and 101st Contracting Parties to this Convention. Sierra Leone and Djibouti deposited their instruments of accession to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System), which brought the number of Contracting Parties to this Convention to 153. The Council also welcomed Palestine as the WCO’s newest and 180th Member, which attended the Council for the first time.
Elections for the three posts of the WCO Directors were held on the final day of the session which resulted as follows:
- Director of Compliance and Facilitation - Ms. Ana Hinojosa (USA)
- Director of Capacity Building - Mr. Ernani Checcucci (Brazil)
- Director of Tariff and Trade Affairs - Mr. Ping Liu (China).
On the occasion of the Council Sessions a regional consultation for the Asia/Pacific was held to discuss pending regional issues. The consultation was chaired by Dato Sri Khazali Hj. Ahmad, as the WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair and attended by Members of the Asia/Pacific region. Within the allocated short period of time, the main issue discussed during the consultation was the nomination of WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair for 2016 – 2018. The WCO Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair Secretariat reported the activities of the Vice-Chair for the past one year and presented an update on the development of the Asia/Pacific Regional Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2018.