WCO National Workshop on SAFE FoS and AEO Programme

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) in cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Central Board of Customs and Excise (CBEC) India hosted a national workshop on the SAFE Framework of Standards (FoS) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programme from 5th to 8th June, 2017.

Funded by the Customs Co-operation Fund (CCF) Japan, the workshop took place at the Regional Training Centre in Suva, Fiji and was attended by 23 middle to senior ranking professionals including officers from FRCA alongside selected participants from various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Defense, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, Airports Fiji Limited, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited as well as customs broker and private sector representatives.

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Expert facilitators Mr. Pushpathi Nath Pandey (Technical Officer, Compliance and Facilitation, WCO) and Dr. K. Venkat Ram Reddy (Additional Director, Directorate of Performance Management, CBEC) conducted the workshop with the aims to enhance understanding on all three Pillars of the SAFE Fos amongst FRCA officers and stakeholders as well as to improve the professional knowledge necessary to develop regulations related to the AEO programme and implementation through stakeholder engagement.

In his opening speech Mr. Visvanath Das, Vice-Chair of the WCO Asia/Pacific Region and Chief Executive Officer of FRCA, highlighted the importance of enhancing collaboration between Customs, government agencies and businesses in order to further secure and facilitate global trade through the SAFE FoS and AEO. Mr. Das also expressed his appreciation towards the WCO for affording Fiji the opportunity to host this capacity building initiative.

Topics presented during the sessions comprised of Standards and Technical Specifications of SAFE Pillars, Integrated Supply Chain Management (ISCM) Guidelines and Harmonization of Security Programs.

Discussions over the four-day event amongst the participants included issues such as the challenges faced by Customs, the Digital Revolution, World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement as well as the implementation and consolidation of the SAFE AEO and Trusted Trader Programmes in Fiji. The quality of the discussions during the workshop also highlighted the strong interest by all participants in issues related to security and facilitation of cross-border trade.

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The workshop was well received by participants and resulted in a better understanding of practical experiences and best practices in terms of using the WCO tools and instruments in the implementation of SAFE FoS and AEO Programme.

At the end of the workshop, participants were presented with certificates by the facilitators in appreciation for their contribution.