On 27-28 October 2021, Vice-chair was invited by the Head of ROCB A/P to attend the 19th Regional Training Center (RTC) Heads Meeting. This meeting aims to have the update of ROCB working plan and sharing sessions among RTCs best practices in practicing online training due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Eight RTCs in Asia Pacific Region participated this meeting as well as two RTCs candidates from Iran Customs and Thai Customs as the observers.

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.

The Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance and Cooperation in Customs Matters  was signed by Mr. Mahdi Mirasharfi, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration and Mr.Kazutoshi Aikawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Tehran, with the presence of the foreign ministers of the two countries.

“Directorate General of Customs and Excise of the Republic of Indonesia commits to continuing our efforts in achieving best national practice of the AEO program for greatest benefit of its implementation for private sectors to a secured and sustainable global supply chain.” Askolani, Director General of Customs and Excise of the Republic of Indonesia in the opening Remarks on AEO 2.0 Webinar.                                                                                                                                      

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.

With the purpose to discuss the draft of WCO RILO A/P Transition Term of Reference, WCO A/P Vice-chair Secretariat facilitated and hosted a virtual meeting on 26 July 2021. RILO A/P and all working group members including Australia, China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand attended this meeting. The meeting was started with the welcoming session from WCO Vice-chair A/P Secretariat and then, it was continuously chaired by Mr. Young-Lae Jeon from Korea Customs Service.

At the invitation of the WCO RDTC Korea Opening Ceremony on 8th June 2021, Mr. Askolani delivered the congratulatory remarks to the Korea Customs Service for the establishment of RDTC Korea. The launching ceremony which was organized by RDTC Korea together with Regional Office for Capacity Building for Asia Pacific Region (ROCB A/P) is followed by WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Virtual Workshop on Canines. More than 60 participants from the Asia Pacific region attended the ceremony.

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.

On 18 March 2021, WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair and other 5 (five) Regional Vice-chairs attended the Conference Call with WCO Secretary General and the Council Chair, Mr. Al-Khalifa from Bahrain Customs. The meeting served as a forum to follow-up on the actions emanating from the December 2020 Sessions of the WCO Policy Commission and Council, particularly regarding the matter of working methods and prioritization.

16-18 March 2021, Indonesia Customs and Excise Education and Training Centre held its first international webinar as a WCO Regional Training Centre (RTC), namely International Conference on Digital Transformation in Customs through the online platform. The 3 main topics discussed in the conference were: Innovation in Trade Facilitation and Customs Service, Innovation in Trade Security and Customs Control, and Innovation in Post Clearance Audit (PCA).

WCO Asia Pacific Vice-chair actively participated on the 16th Global Meeting for Regional Structure together with other regional Vice-chairs and regional entities. The chairperson for this annual meeting is Mr. Hisyam F. Abou Ibrahim from Lebanon RTC.  This meeting aims to enhance the collaboration with the Regional Entities and welcome their contributions in the areas of capacity building, training, and technical assistance in order to promote the effectiveness of the Regional Entities.

Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, China Customs continued its tradition of celebrating the International Customs Day (ICD) on January 26, 2021, but this time in a different manner. The celebration was held both off- and on-line. Mr. Wang Lingjun, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), and other representatives of GACC attended the celebration on site, while Customs officers from regional Customs districts and Customs (Commercial/Agricultural) Attachés from nearly 30 countries and regions including those from the Asia-Pacific region joined the event via video link. Participants reviewed the challenges and progress of the past year and exchanged views on the future.