At the invitation of Mr. Julio Fernandez Frutos, Director General of Paraguay Customs, and Mr. Ricardo Peralta Saucedo, Director General of Mexico Customs and Permanent Secretary of the Multilateral Agreement on Mutual Assistance for Directors General of Latin America, Spain and Portugal (COMALEP), the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, attended the WCO-COMALEP Private Sector Forum as well as the XL COMALEP Meeting of Customs National Directors of Latin America, Spain and Portugal, held in Asunción, Paraguay from 1 to 3 May 2019.
The opening ceremony of the Private Sector Forum on “Mechanisms of Communication and Joint Work between the Private Sector and Customs aimed at Trade Facilitation”, held on 1 May, was chaired by Mr. Peralta Saucedo and comprised addresses by Director General Frutos, by Mr. Enrique Ramirez Paniagua, Director General of Dominican Republic Customs and Vice-Chair of the WCO Americas/Caribbean region, and by the WCO Deputy Secretary General. While stressing the importance of establishing a close working relationship with the private sector in his opening comments, the Deputy Secretary General underlined, in his keynote, the WCO instruments and tools that support this relationship. He referred to five priority WCO areas of work in which the private sector’s views must be taken into consideration, namely the comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention, the SAFE Working Group and Authorized Economic Operators, the Working Group on E-Commerce, the Harmonized System, and the upcoming work on performance measurement.
The XL COMALEP Meeting took place on 2 and 3 May, with several panel sessions covering the following topics: Integration Process and Coordination between Customs Administrations, Challenges of the Technological Era, and Fiscal Risk Management. The Deputy Secretary General participated as a keynote speaker at the Meeting, focusing on the Vision of Customs for the Americas and the Caribbean. He made reference to the three strategic objectives contained in the Regional Strategic Plan and to how this plan is also aligned with the priorities of the WCO Strategic Plan, as well as to the eight priorities identified during the process of defining the WCO Strategic Plan 2019-2022.