From 28-31 May 2023, the Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair (APVC), Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs, Michael Outram APM hosted the 24th World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia/Pacific Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (RHCA) Conference in Perth, Australia. The 24th RHCA marks the first RHCA during Commissioner Outram’s tenure as the APVC. The event was preceded by a welcome reception and observance of a traditional ‘welcome to country’ and ‘smoking ceremony’ performed by indigenous Australians from the Wadjuk Noongar peoples of the greater Perth region.
Commissioner Outram chaired the 24th RHCA at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and was joined by WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair Secretariat Assistant Secretary Kimberlee Stamatis. Commissioner Outram welcomed 80 delegates from 22 Asia/Pacific Members in-person, along with the respective Heads of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO A/P) and the Regional Office of Capacity Building (ROCB A/P) and their delegations. A further six Members joined the meeting virtually from across the Asia/Pacific, as well as the Chair of the Regional Private Sector Group (RPSG A/P).
This session also welcomed attendance by two of the three formal candidates for the post of WCO Secretary General from 2024 to 2029, including Mr Ian Saunders from the United States and Mr Philippe Kokou Tchodie from the Togolese Republic. This session of RHCA also had a special industry guest speaker, the National Risk Manager from the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) who presented on their role in the 2022 WCO Operation TIN CAN.