Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had organised a meeting of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) from 8th May to 10th May, 2019 in Kochi. India hosted this meeting as the Vice Head of the Asia Pacific region, duties it assumed on 1st July, 2018 for a 2-year period.
i. In the meeting, was discussed India’s progress in carrying forward the programmes, initiatives of WCO to improve and provide security in the cross-border trade, the capacity building and technical assistance needed to achieve this goal, work programs of the Vice-Chair and facilitation of bilateral meetings to be held between the Member States.
ii. This meeting was headed by Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman, CBIC. The participants of the meeting included customs delegates from more than 20 countries of the Asia Pacific region and the senior dignitaries of the WCO and its regional bodies, namely, Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and Regional Intelligence Liaoning Office (RILO).
iii. Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman focussed on the strategic principles guiding India. The principles are as follows:
- Greater communication and connectivity within the region
- Making use of the technological advancements
- Developing an inclusive approach
- Agreement on major issues
iv. The major areas for focus in the meeting as discussed in the meeting are as follows:
- implementation of trade enhancement measures
- cross-border e-commerce (electronic commerce or digital trade) transactions
- constructing capacity of small island economies
- the on-going review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC)
v. A Trade Day was organised on 7th May, 2019 before the meeting of the Regional Heads of Customs so as to symbolise the importance of the collaborative approach between Customs and trade. In this 1-day long deliberation, representatives from trade & industry and think-tanks shared their experiences for the adoption of scheme, policies and steps to improve trade facilitation, secure trade and thus promoting ethical leadership.