The New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) has published its latest Time Release Study, which looks at how quickly imports and exports are cleared in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Study analysed Customs’ performance in moving cargo through the border over a one-week period in September 2022. It measured the time taken for various events and procedures from when the goods first arrive into the country to their clearance or release.

From 28-31 May 2023, the Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair (APVC), Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs, Michael Outram APM hosted the 24th World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia/Pacific Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (RHCA) Conference in Perth, Australia. The 24th RHCA marks the first RHCA during Commissioner Outram’s tenure as the APVC. 

On 7 and 8 February 2023, the Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair (APVC), Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs, Michael Outram APM, along with Wold Customs Organization (WCO) Deputy Secretary General (DSG) Ricardo Treviño Chapa, hosted a virtual Caucus with the Asia/Pacific as part of the WCO’s Regional consultations on the development of the WCO Modernization Plan. The WCO Modernization Plan is the first large scale reform of the Organisation since its establishment in 1952.

The 18th Global Meeting of the Regional Entities established by the WCO Members and the Council Vice-Chairs’ Offices (GMRE) was held in hybrid format from 20-21 February 2023. The GMRE was established by WCO Members and the Council Vice-Chair Offices. It acts under the overall direction of the WCO Capacity Building

The World Customs Organization (WCO) dedicated International Customs Day (ICD) 2023 to “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs”.

Australia, in its capacity as the World Customs Organization (WCO) Regional Vice-Chair for the Asia/Pacific region, hosted the 32nd Session Regional Contact Points (RCP) Meeting in Brisbane from 15 to 18 November 2022. The event was the first regional meeting during the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller General of Customs, Michael Outram APM, tenure as the Regional Vice-Chair. It was also the first in-person meeting for the Asia/Pacific region since the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The ABF in its capacity as the World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair hosted the WCO Asia/Pacific Region Digital Forensics Workshop in Perth, Australia, from 17-21 October 2022. This event was undertaken in cooperation with WCO Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizure (COPES), the Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB A/P) and sponsored by Japan Customs.


The WCO Coordinated a Customs Risk Management Pre-Accreditation Workshop for the Asia/Pacific region. The event was hosted by Thai Customs at their new Reginal Training Centre in Bangkok from 21-25 November 2022 and was supported by the Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) – China and the Regional Office of Capacity Building Asia/Pacific (ROCB A/P). WCO Members from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Iran, Japan, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand actively participated in several group and individual assessment exercises centred on the topic of operational risk management - in the context of customs border management.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) hosted government and industry participants in Sydney for part 2 of the annual Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) Symposium in June 2022, following the virtual session held in March.

At the first in-person ATT Symposium since 2019, participants came together to recognise and celebrate the program's collaborative approach to facilitating legitimate trade, strengthening supply chain security and detecting illicit trade activity.

On 25 June 2022, the Vice Chair Secretariat held bilateral meeting between Directorate General of Customs and Excise (DGCE) of Indonesia and Australia Border Force (ABF) in the WCO Headquarters, Brussel, Belgium shortly after the 139th/140th Session of the WCO Council ended. This meeting aimed to hand over the baton of Vice Chairmanship from Indonesia as a WCO A/P Vice Chair 2020 – 2022 to Australia as the new appointed Vice Chair for the next period of 2022 – 2024. The ceremony symbolized by the handover of WCO Asia Pacific’ flag, Asia Pacific Regional Strategic Plan 2022 – 2024 document, and also token of appreciation.

WCO Asia Pacific Vice-Chair attended the 86th Session of Policy Commission on 20 – 22 June 2022 in WCO Headquarter, Brussel, Belgium. This meeting was chaired by Mr. Ahmed Al Khalifa (Bahrain) and attended in-person by Mr. Askolani, Director General of Indonesia Customs as a WCO Asia Pacific Vice Chair, Ms. Anita Iskandar (Chief of Executive) and Mr. Fitra Krisdianto (Chief of Operations).

23rd Regional Head of Customs Administration (RHCA) Conference 18-19 May 2022 organizing by Indonesia Customs as the WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair was held in Nusa Dua, Bali, in hybrid format, allowing the possibilities for delegates who are unable to travel to join remotely via an online platform. This annual high-level meeting aims to set the region’s direction for the following years. The meeting leading by Mr. Askolani as the WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair was  attended by more than 80 participants in-person and virtually, consisting of 22 Customs Administrations, the WCO Secretary General and  the High Officials, the Head of ROCB A/P and the Deputy Head of RILO A/P. Several important agenda items such as WCO Policy and Initiatives, WCO Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025, Report from the Vice-chair, Endorsement on the 2022-2024 Vice-chair, Regional Representatives, Regional Entities and Regional Strategic Plan 2022-2024, ROCB A/P and RILO A/P report, including Member’s Presentations on several Customs issues and other related business were discussed in this meeting.