The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) organised a Conference of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi from 08th to 10thMay, 2019. India hosted this Conference in its capacity as Vice-Chair of the Asia Pacific Region of WCO which it assumed on 1st July, 2018 for a two-year period.
The Conference took stock of the progress made in carrying forward the programmes and initiatives of WCO to promote, facilitate and secure cross-border trade in the region and the capacity building required by Member Administrations to achieve these goals.
This 3-day Conference was chaired by Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman, CBIC. Customs delegations from more than twenty countries of the Asia Pacific Region participated in the Conference along with senior officials of the WCO and its Regional Bodies, the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and Regional Intelligence LiaisonOffice (RILO). Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, WCO and Mr P.N. Rao, Principal Chief Commissioner, Customs, Kochi also attended the meeting.
In addition to the discussions on the strategic priorities of the Asia Pacific Region, the Conference also deliberated on the work programs of the Vice-Chair, ROCB & RILO, security related issues, trade facilitation, e-commerce, performance measurement, trusted trader programmes and emerging technological and logistical challenges in the fields of trade facilitation and Customs Administrations. The Conference also gave opportunity to different member administrations to engage bilaterally.
Recognising the importance of the collaborative approach between Customs and trade, a Trade Day was organised on 7th May, 2019 as a precursor to the Conference of the Regional Heads of Customs. The Secretary General of WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, along with Member (Customs), CBIC Mr. R. K. Barthwal addressed the gathering. In the daylong deliberations, representatives from trade & industry and think-tanks shared their insights and experiences that are expected to shape the thinking of customs administrations of the region in adopting policies and measures to promote trade facilitation and secure global trade, and promote ethical leadership.