The 9th edition of the WCO knowledge Academy for Customs and Trade was launched on Monday 1 July 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, with over 150 participants taking part in a one-week intensive training course targeted at Customs and trade professionals. The sessions will conclude with a field trip to the port of Antwerp, organized with the kind support and close collaboration of Belgium Customs.
In his welcoming address, WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Treviňo Chapa greeted the participants and emphasized the high-level of interest shown year after year by Customs and trade professionals attending these courses, with a view to keeping up-to-date with the work of the WCO and with Customs trends in general. As the WCO is primarily a technical organization, this event also offers a golden opportunity for experts to share knowledge and provides a forum where Customs, the private sector and trade specialists can share views and interact with their counterparts from other countries.
This year’s programme has been adapted to the needs expressed by participants of the Academy and the previous three learning tracks have now been merged into a single programme covering the key areas of the WCO’s work: (i) The Compliance and Facilitation topics encompassing the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), smart procedures and controls, safety and security, and transit and transhipment; (ii) The Tariff and Trade Affairs sessions focusing on various matters relating to the Harmonized System (HS) for the classification of goods, rules of origin and the future of Customs valuation; (iii) The Capacity Building topics delving into the new WCO Strategic Plan 2019-2022, the blended learning approach, including the WCO Academy, project management, and performance measurement. The programme will also include a session on the Research Unit’s activities.
The Knowledge Academy features some 40 prominent speakers, trainers and facilitators with different profiles and backgrounds, and offers the opportunity to engage directly with specialists from WCO Member administrations, international organizations, the broader Customs community, trade organizations and other players in the global trade arena, who can discuss specific issues and share experiences and best practices in their own field of expertise.
At the end of the week, the participants will travel to Antwerp and visit the facilities at Europe’s second largest port, with demonstrations and descriptions of the daily routine followed by Customs officers working there.
The WCO launched the first edition of the Knowledge Academy in 2011 and, over the past eight years, interest in this event has grown among the public sector and private sector companies, resulting in generally very positive feedback from attendees.