The 10th edition of the WCO Knowledge Academy for Customs and Trade was held virtually from 8 to 10 September 2020, in English and French. It proved a resounding success, with over 960 participants taking part in the three-day intensive training course for Customs and trade professionals.
In his welcoming address the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviňo Chapa, greeted participants and emphasized that, despite the prevailing global circumstances, the WCO had decided to mobilize resources in response to the new reality and organize this event which was of particular interest to Customs and trade professionals. He stressed that this year’s edition was focused on the challenges currently faced by the international trade community, before sharing guidance with participants on the role of Customs in times of crisis as well as the leadership role played by the WCO. He concluded by stating that it was of prime importance for the WCO to share knowledge and provide a forum where Customs, the private sector and trade specialists could share views and interact with their counterparts from other countries in order to adopt a common approach to global crises.
This year’s programme was tailored to the needs expressed by Academy participants and was split into two learning tracks per day, with the sessions being repeated so that delegates from different time zones could take part. Key areas of the WCO’s work were covered, namely: (i) Compliance and Facilitation topics encompassing the role of Customs in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; Customs supporting safe, secure and sustainable cross-border E-Commerce; and Customs addressing safety and security challenges; (ii) Tariff and Trade Affairs sessions centering on a range of matters relating to the Harmonized System (HS) for the classification of goods as well as the utility of the HS during the COVID-19 pandemic; rules of origin; and the future of Customs valuation; (iii) Capacity Building involving the blended learning approach; and (iv) two Research sessions on the trade in waste and the DATE (Dual Attentive Tree-Aware Embedded) Model.
This Knowledge Academy 2020 featured some 20 prominent speakers, trainers and facilitators with different profiles and backgrounds, and offered participants 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 discussed specific issues and shared experiences and best practices in their own field of expertise.
All the sessions have been recorded and WCO Members can access them via the WCO CLiKC! Platform. Private sector representatives may also contact the WCO Academy to access these sessions. The presentations will be made available to all participants in this year’s Knowledge Academy.
The WCO launched the first edition of the Knowledge Academy in 2011 and, over the past nine years, interest in this event has grown among the public and private sectors, resulting in very positive feedback from attendees. Following the record number of attendees this year, as well as the encouraging reactions received, the WCO will consider the possibility of holding this event in a virtual format again in 2021.