At the invitation of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Treviño Chapa attended its XLI Annual Conference, held in Havana, Cuba from 20 to 24 May 2019.
During the opening ceremony, Deputy Secretary General Treviño Chapa talked about the importance of the coordination among Customs authorities and also presented some relevant WCO activities for the region. He highlighted the progress made on the Small Island Economies initiative, which is to be discussed at the WCO Policy Commission in December this year, as well as the start of the new COLIBRI Project which aims at strengthen the surveillance of small private aircrafts, both business jets using international airports and small clandestine planes, which is of high concern in the Caribbean territory.
Mr. Treviño Chapa also informed the delegates about the progress made by the WCO Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). While the WCO is continuously working towards developing international standards, fostering cooperation and delivering capacity building, Members are in the process of defining priorities for the next three-year period strategy, and, in the framework of this process, it has been confirmed that conducting the comprehensive review of the RKC, the flagship instrument for Customs procedures, should be high on the agenda.
The Working Group has discussed important issues such as: i) the importance of the RKC’s role in promoting modern and efficient Customs procedures, while addressing the need to use solutions for facilitating trade and ensuring security; ii) the significance of maintaining the binding nature of the RKC, while recognizing the need for an embedded and periodic update mechanism; iii) the need for a robust implementation mechanism, implying monitoring, reporting and evaluation and; iv) the necessary need to move away from a traditional, paper-based declaration system to integrate the extensive use of electronic data submission, throughout Customs procedures as a whole.
The event was attended by representatives from Caribbean Customs authorities and other stakeholders including international organizations, border authorities and local representatives. The following key speakers also addressed the audience: Mr. Nelson Cordoves Reyes, Head of the Cuban Customs Authority, Mr. Herby Nelson, Chairman of Executive Council of CCLEC, Mrs. Meisi Bolaños, Minister of Finance and Prices of Cuba, and Mr. Menno Snel, State Secretary of Finance of The Netherlands.
During the event, an official ceremony was organized in which the new Caribbean Customs Organization (CCO) was established, providing the region with a legal instrument that will strengthen its regional coordination and align its interests and concerns with WCO’s programmes and activities.