WCO Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the RKC holds its First Meeting

The First Meeting of the WCO Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (WGRKC) took place in Brussels from 10 to 12 September 2018, thus kicking off the work to conduct a comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), one of the WCO’s flagship instruments. 

Based on the recommendation made by the Revised Kyoto Convention Management Committee (RKC/MC) at its 18th Meeting in May 2018, the June 2018 Policy Commission approved the setting up of the WGRKC and its Terms of Reference (ToR), recognizing the need to ensure that the RKC remains the blueprint for modern and efficient Customs procedures in the 21st Century. 

The WGRKC was opened by the WCO Director for Compliance and Facilitation, Ms. Ana Hinojosa. In his keynote speech, Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa stressed that, as one of the key facilitation instruments for Customs administrations, the RKC has played a vital role in promoting trade facilitation.  He invited delegates to engage in active and intensive discussions in the WGRKC meetings over the next three years, so as to lay down solid foundations for the future of the RKC, the WCO, its Member administrations and all external stakeholders.   

The WGRKC elected Mr. Rob Van Kuik from the Netherlands as its Chairperson, and Mr. Daniel Rios from Mexico as its Vice-Chairperson.  It then adopted the WGRKC work plan.

Over 70 delegates representing around 50 WCO Members actively participated in the strategic discussions on the key issues for a comprehensive review of the RKC.  The intensive discussions focused mainly on the future RKC structure, and on gaps and needs in order to incorporate recent developments with respect to WCO instruments/tools and Members’ best practices.  Delegates raised several essential issues requiring in-depth discussion, including: 

  • the importance of the RKC’s role for modern and efficient Customs procedures, while addressing the need to maintain the right balance between trade facilitation and ensuring security; 
  • the need to reflect the extensive use of electronic data submission, rather than paper documents, throughout Customs procedures as a whole;
  • the significance and strengths of the binding nature of the RKC, recognizing the need for an embedded and periodical review mechanism; 
  • the necessity for a robust implementation mechanism, supported by technical assistance and capacity building utilizing the WCO’s expertise;
  • the importance of leveraging legal support from the legal divisions of Member Customs administrations in order to develop proposals.

Given the scale of the comprehensive review work, it is vital that the WGRKC conduct the task in an efficient and time-bound manner.  The WGRKC adopted a work plan and established three Sub-Groups, as laid down in the ToR.  It was agreed that the Secretariat would invite all WCO Members to submit their proposals to the WGRKC and that these Sub-Groups would work in parallel, via the CliKC! platform, to start discussions based on the proposals. 
The Sub-Groups’ activities will be composed as follows: 

  • Sub-Group I – The RKC Body and relevant horizontal issues
  • Sub-Group II – The RKC General Annex
  • Sub-Group III – The RKC Specific Annexes and Guidelines

The Deputy Secretary General brought his remarks to a close by stating that the Customs community should stand together to conduct this strategic task of keeping the RKC as our flagship convention in a creative and innovative way, which will lead to reconfirming Customs’ leading role in trade facilitation and trade security.  It is also very important that all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide their opinions on this important task; the WCO will hold a stakeholder engagement conference on the RKC review at the WCO Headquarters on 9 November 2018.  Regarding deliberations on the structure of the RKC, it is an ideal moment and opportunity to conduct tactical discussions on implementation and performance measurement, which not only monitor but also evaluate the capacity building needs of WCO Members and analyse the quality and impact of WCO instruments and activities.