WCO A/P Vice-chair attended the 85th of Policy Commission on 13-15 December 2021, which chaired by Mr. Ahmed Al-khalifa, President of Customs Affairs in Bahrain and Chairperson of the WCO Council. This meeting was held in hybrid format with some participants attending at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and the rest are joining remotely by using KUDO Platform.

During the three-day meeting, the Policy Commission discussed various topics, including the Business Case for the Exploratory Study on a Possible Strategic Review of the Harmonized System, the implementation of the WCO COVID-19 Action Plan, the Organization’s main priorities, the new WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and its potential areas of focus and the WCO Business Continuity Plan, among others.

WCO Priorities became the major point of discussion where renewing the focus on digital Customs and the work of the secretariat to develop data strategy was supported by all delegates. Those priorities also became the main priorities in A/P region as stated by Vice-chair. The role of Customs in climate change mitigation was also the interest of the delegates that needs further exploration. In line with identified focus areas, the WCO Secretary General also announced the WCO theme for 2022: Scaling up Customs’ Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Customs Data Ecosystem’ during his progress report presentation.

During the meeting, delegates also received the progress reports on several ongoing programmes and initiatives within the different core areas of work of the WCO, including updates on the Organizations’ ongoing work on performance measurement, gender equality and diversity, and the activities of the Private Sector Consultative Group. The delegates also give their support to the governance related works and initiatives such as WCO Business Continuity Plan, WCO alternative sources of funding, guidelines concerning WCO election processes and proposal for the WCO modernization. Further, some intersessional works also needs to be done as the preparation for the Policy Commission and Council Session Summer 2022.

Members took note the result of the meeting and expressed their gratitude to the Chairperson for his leadership, and the WCO Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General, as well as the officers of the Secretariat, for the excellent organization of the meeting despite the global challenging time.