Directors General of ASEAN countries discuss WCO strategy and work plan ahead of Council Sessions

At the invitation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, attended the 28th Meeting of Directors General of Customs Administrations from ASEAN countries which was held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 11 to 13 June 2019.

The second day of the event was dedicated to consultation meetings with public and private organizations, including the WCO.

The consultation meeting with the WCO was co-chaired by Lao Customs Acting Director General, Mr. Bounpaseuth Sikounlabout, and Malaysia Customs Director General, Mr. Dato’ Paddy Bin Abd Halim.  During his introductory remarks, the WCO Deputy Secretary General thanked the representatives of the ten administrations present for giving him the opportunity to share details of what the Organization was working on and to express his views on the challenges raised by the current global trade environment. 

Mr. Treviño Chapa explained that the new WCO Strategic Plan covering the period 2019-2022 would be presented to Directors General of the WCO’s 183 Member administrations for adoption at the Organization’s Council Sessions in late June.  The new Plan had been developed through a consultative approach in order to take account of the latest concerns and priorities voiced by WCO Members. A survey had been conducted and six regional workshops held across the WCO regions to discuss the results of the survey, determine priorities and strategic initiatives, and define the main deliverables and strategic indicators.  The Plan had been further discussed in the WCO Policy Commission, Audit Committee and Finance Committee.  In comparison with its predecessor, the new Plan contains fewer Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and provides clearer definitions of its nine priorities, with a view to serving as a high-level strategic policy document.

Mr. Treviño Chapa also presented the topics to be discussed at the upcoming Council Sessions, such as the results of the Conference on the Harmonized System, progress made with the comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention, and the work done on performance measurement, data analysis and e-commerce.

Representatives of the ten administrations attending the meeting reacted positively to the Deputy Secretary General’s presentation and highlighted the importance of the efforts to initiate dialogue with the World Bank to discuss the Doing Business report and, in particular, the survey used to evaluate the performance of countries when it comes to ease of trading across borders.

Each administration also held individual meetings with the Deputy Secretary General to share priorities and concerns and discuss ways to strengthen collaboration with the WCO.