Indonesia Customs as a WCO Asia Pacific Vice Chair hosted WCO Asia Pacific 22nd Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) Conference on 6 – 7 April 2021. This annual meeting was conducted through online platform and aimed to set the region’s direction for the following years. This virtual meeting led by Mr. Syarif Hidayat, WCO A/P Chief of Executive, and was attended by 57 participants from 25 customs administrations in Asia Pacific region, including: WCO Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, as well as Head of Regional Office for Capacity Building Asia Pacific (ROCB A/P) and Head of Regional Intelligence Liaison Office Asia Pacific (RILO A/P) as the observers.

In this meeting, the WCO Secretary General presented WCO updates on WCO Policy and Initiatives. The secretariat prepared the COVID-19 Action Plan as an immediate priority of the organization for the period of January 2021 to June 2022. Then, Indonesia as a Vice-chair reported the activities done in the past few months, both in global and regional forum including: arranged the final Regional Strategic Plan, conducted several Caucus Meetings, actively participated in WCO’s forum, attended the Conference Call, published Asia Pacific Customs News Volume 62, and managed regional communication through website and social media.

The finalized Draft Terms of Reference for Regional Private Sector Group – Asia Pacific (RPSG – AP) also got endorsed in this meeting. As the follow-up, Vice-chair will have further consultation with WCO PSCG and communicate it with the member afterwards. The meeting also concluded on the approval of members for the establishment of Nanjing Customs Laboratory (China) as a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL).  After further administration arrangements are completed, Asia Pacific region will have 5 RCL in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Other important issues discussed in this meeting included regional priorities and initiatives in light of Covid-19 Pandemic as the follow-up on the Resolution of the Customs Co-operation Council on the Role of Customs in Facilitating the Cross-Border Movement of Situationally Critical Medicines and Vaccines. By sharing the guidelines and best-practices on the topics related to Covid-19, particularly in facilitating the cross-border movement of Covid-19 vaccines, Passenger Facilitation and Control, and Electronic Certificate of Origin, hopefully, members may obtain comprehensive references to be implemented in their countries.

Lastly, WCO Secretary General expressed his appreciation to Vice-chair for the strong leadership. Member countries also appreciated Indonesia as a Vice-chair for organizing this conference successfully and for initiating virtual tour that has been arranged beautifully in the midst of pandemic. In addition, members thanked Mr. Heru Pambudi for his outstanding chairmanship and congratulated Mr. Askolani for the newly appointed Director General as well as showed support in accordance with the tagline “Together, We are Echoing Asia Pacific”.