On 11-12 October 2021, WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair and all Member Administration were invited by the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Trevino Chava, to attend WCO Regional Consultation on the Strategic Plan 2022-2025. Approximately 50 participants participated in the session, which was held virtually. This consultation aims to share the current issues and priorities of the region thus, they can be analyzed and inclusively included in the WCO Strategic Priorities 2022-2025.

In his introductory remarks, the WCO A/P Vice-chair firstly thanked the WCO Deputy Secretary General for his outstanding effort in organizing this consultation for the A/P Region. Considering the immense impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that mostly hit worldwide, Vice-chair emphasized that the Strategic Plan may consider addressing and raising the necessary resilience toward global crisis. In addition, regarding the six red risks as to the result of the Audit Plan, it is necessary to identify the risks and specifically address them to strengthen the position of WCO as a global organization. Also, along with the upcoming opportunities, Customs faced many new challenges such as the growth of E-Commerce, Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence among others. While harnessing the development of Information and Technologies will be a challenge for Customs Administrations; nevertheless, it is also to predict and anticipate which will be crucial to assist Customs role and its modernization. Lastly, the Vice-chair hoped all participants could actively participate in the workshop and gain many benefits to develop and determine the region's priorities to become part of WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

Continuing the session, WCO Deputy Secretary General explained the result of the WCO Annual Survey, which shows that A/P region led in some survey aspects. Participants thanked the WCO for the more consolidated survey result and proposed to improve some particular elements in the forthcoming survey. Furthermore, under the item of six red categories, participants stated the actions proposed by the WCO Deputy Secretary General are almost completed and well designed. The priorities must be clearly defined to address all the risks in the first place. Furthermore, participants also suggest including the revenue collection aspect as the priority because it also becomes a significant interest for some members in A/P region.     

Highlighted the priorities proposed by A/P Region, Risk Management, Passenger Management, and Coordinated Border Management become the vocal point raised by the participants in order to increase the trust to become government advisors. To support those aspects, it is considered essential to strengthen the Data Model and start implementing the Smart Development of Customs. However, the gap amongst members should be regarded as, and assistance should be provided to harmonize the implementation of those aspects. Talking about trade facilitation, e-commerce also needs to take into account to become the priority of the region. Lastly, in line with the WCO priority, Gender Equality and Diversity also come up as the main priorities of the region.

Since the Strategic Plan may majorly influence the daily work of the WCO, it is expected that the operational activities must be reviewed regularly to see the current emerging trends and quickly adapt to the current situation. Hopefully, full involvement by Members might provide invaluable insight when drafting these documents so that the entire Organization shares a single vision and is moving towards achieving the same objectives.

Together, we are echoing Asia Pacific.