On 15 July, the Directorate General of Customs and Excise (DGCE) of the Republic of Indonesia successfully held a virtual launching ceremony as Indonesia assuming Vice-Chairmanship of the WCO for the Asia Pacific Region. The virtual launching ceremony was attended by 420 participants not only Indonesia Customs Officials, but also distinguished guests from WCO Secretariat in Brussels, ROCB A/P, RILO A/P, International Organization, Customs Attaché, and Embassy in Jakarta.

The ceremony started with the performance of the official DGCE hymn “Mars Bea dan Cukai” to welcome all participants and continued with a recorded video message from WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. He emphasized the necessity for Customs Administrations to adopt new norms as the best practice to counter covid-19 pandemic, further WCO Secretariat will open for any communication, coordination, and contribution from Asia Pacific Region. He concluded his message by affirming that Indonesia as the new Vice-Chair would continue to play a leading role in the region and at the WCO.

The former Vice-Chair, Mr. M. Ajit Kumar, Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, India, in his handing over letter highlighted the significance of the Vice-Chair’s role and kindly shared the four key principles that help India customs having an active coordination among members for implementing smooth border procedures. The message was closed by underlining the expectation for the active contribution of the new Vice-Chair.

Mr. Heru Pambudi as the WCO Asia Pacific Vice-Chair elaborated on the need to further improve communication and connectivity among WCO members to promote the regional potential. He advocated advance efforts to strengthen cooperation in terms of capacity building and delivery of technical assistance to Members, as per their needs. He added another focus of Indonesia’s Vice-Chairmanship to support and enhance cooperation in terms of data exchange such as intelligence and enforcement among Members in the region.

Following the remarks, the Director of International and Public Affairs of DGCE delivered a presentation about the Vice-Chair overview. The event concluded with congratulatory message from the participants and the performance of Customs band.

Overcoming this challenging situation, due to the outbreak of covid-19, Indonesia attempts to eliminate boundaries through virtual event and achieve regional voices. Together, we are echoing Asia Pacific.