Third WGRKC Meeting paved a solid ground for further discussions of Members’ proposals

The Third Meeting of the WCO Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (WGRKC) took place in Brussels from 6 to 8 February 2019, going on with substantial discussions on approximately 70 concept-based proposals from WCO Members (Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Cuba, EU, Haiti, Japan, Morocco, Myanmar, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay) regarding the comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). The Meeting paved a solid ground for further discussions.

Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, WCO Deputy Secretary General, delivered opening remarks at the Meeting. Mr. Treviño extended his appreciation to the proponents for submitting new or detailed proposals to the Working Group. He also introduced the outcome of the discussion on external stakeholder engagement at the recent Policy Commission meeting, stressing the importance that this review should timely capture the fast-changing environment surrounding Customs. Mr. Treviño reminded the delegates of the importance to consider the period of three years granted by the Council to present the results of the comprehensive review of the RKC and encouraged Members to further develop proposals and consider co-sponsoring them among several Members. He also stressed the importance of intersessional work to accelerate the discussions and reach the working group’s aim more effectively and efficiently.

The WCO Secretariat reported that it sent out letters respectively to Members and stakeholders in January, calling for proposals for discussion at the Fourth Meeting.

During the three-day Meeting, the WGRKC went through Members’ proposals newly submitted, as well as proposals from the Virtual Working Group (VWG) and inputs from the WCO Secretariat. The proposals were concerning a wide range of subjects, which fell under the Body of the Convention, the General Annex, and the Specific Annexes of the RKC.

As a result of constructive debates, the WGRKC decided to follow up with the proposals depending on their relevance and feasibility. If proposals were to be accepted, they would be placed in “Track A” which embraced the components possibly being part of envisaged WGRKC’s recommendations after the comprehensive review, and if proposals needed to be further discussed, they would be placed in “Track B” for the proponents’ further clarification and elaboration. Those proposals that were considered to be no further discussed and would not form part of the final recommendations were placed in “Track C”.

The stakeholder engagement plan was another item high on the WGRKC’s agenda. In pursuit of transparency and inclusiveness, and according to the Policy Commission’s suggestion, the WGRKC aimed to invite external stakeholders, including relevant international organizations, the private sector, and academia, to take part in the comprehensive review of the RKC and contribute their inputs as appropriate. Having paved a solid ground for further proposal-based discussions, Members generally consent to the external stakeholders’ engagement and shared their views regarding the matters of timing, scope and methods.

As Members extensively expressed, the Meeting was fruitful and signaled a large stride forward. The WGRKC decided to hold the Fourth Meeting from 3 to 5 April, continuing the discussions on the proposals from Members and stakeholders, as well as other relevant issues.