After receiving the approval of the Regional Private Sector Group Asia Pacific Term of Reference (ToR) from all members at the 22nd of Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) Conference on April 2021 and finishing the membership selection process, the WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair Secretariat finally invited thirty private sectors around Asia Pacific region to welcome them as the member of RPSG-AP for the period of the 2021-2024. This meeting that chaired by the WCO Chief of Executive, Mr. R. Syarif Hidayat, was attended by more than forty participants from thirty companies and/or associations in the region.
At the beginning, Mr. Hidayat warmly greeted all participants and briefly explain the meeting agenda. It was continued with the explanation about the organizational structure, duties and responsibilities of WCO and WCO Asia Pacific Region. The Chairperson of WCO PSCG, Mr. John Mein from Instituto Alianca Procomax also gave an overview about WCO PSCG. He defined PSCG as in policy level that develop standard which can be used by Customs Administrations with the same principles involved to help making them realistic. Mr. Mein also underlined that what members discussed in the PSCG is far from the field. They need something in between to help members understanding the standard. Therefore, he emphasized that the PSCG will be able to help the RPSG. In order to provide a proper assistance, they firstly need to understand the challenges faced in the region and what are being offered to solve those challenges. He also encouraged all members of RPSG AP to download all materials related to PSCG on the WCO website to have better understanding.
The session was continued with the explanation about the ToR of RPSG A/P conveyed by WCO Chief of Operational, Mr. Fitra Krisdianto. During his presentation. Mr. Krisdianto firstly introduced the RPSG AP along with the timeline of the establishment, its membership as well as purpose and scope. He also expounded the operational structures, meeting proceedings and resources required.
Beside the description of PSCG and RPSG AP, the participants also gain insight on the experience as the representative of PSCG member from Asia Pacific region from Mr. Kit, the representative of Fonterra. Fonterra has joined the PSCG in a decade and according to Mr. Kit, he experienced many mutual benefits. He stated that PSCG is very useful mechanism for Customs and trade to discuss mutual interest. It is also a great place to meet and change experience with intelligent people who have involved in trade. Regular engagement between Customs and private sectors may also increase mutual understanding each other. Apart from the advantages, Mr. Kit also mentioned some limitations that have been experienced by the PSCG members. As the meeting always holding in Brussels, regional diversities and deep representation are sometimes difficult. Also about the cost, the participation on SMEs has been challenging. Acknowledging this challenge, Mr. Kit emphasized that this is where the associations play an important role as the representatives of these companies. As his closing statement, he stated that as RPSCG will be nominated from local customs that indicates existing relationship, this is helpful to support regional needs such as capacity building. And like PSCG, the RPSG AP will be a handy place for member to change information and make interaction with the regional Customs. After this session, all participants are invited to introduce their company or association and to get to know each other with all members.
Lastly, as the result of the meeting particularly in terms of the Chairperson and Vice-chairperson election, all delegates are agreed to point Mr. Kit from Fonterra New Zealand as the caretaker (temporary Chair) of the RPSG-AP before the election process held. In addition, based on a consensus-based approach, all delegates decided to nominate Fonterra New Zealand, IKEA Australia and Beijing Space Matrix to be the representatives of Asia Pacific Region to the upcoming PSCG meeting. Hopefully, the initiative of establishing the Regional Private Sector Group in Asia Pacific region may bring closer relationship and better understanding between Customs Administration and private sectors in the region.