From 28 to 30 June 2018, the 132nd Annual Session of the WCO Council took place in Brussels, Belgium under the direction and guidance of the Chairperson, Mr. Enrique Canon, Director General of Uruguay Customs, and with the participation of the Directors General of Customs representing the WCO’s Members. The INCU has observer status at the Council. INCU President, Prof. David Widdowson participated at the 2018 Council Sessions and represented INCU there.
Discussions were held on the following six priority areas: trade facilitation which focuses on the WCO Mercator Programme; e-commerce and the challenges it poses to Customs; security, with various WCO initiatives in this field being highlighted; illicit financial flows; Customs-Tax cooperation and the challenges and opportunities from a Customs perspective; and performance measurement, including the dialogue the WCO has established with international and national bodies measuring trade and Customs processes.
The Council adopted the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce which undertakes to assist WCO Members in developing e-commerce strategic and operational frameworks, working in close cooperation with e-commerce stakeholders. Moreover, the Council approved the setting up of a Working Group on a Comprehensive Review of the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention – RKC).
Members of the WCO acknowledged the critical role played by capacity building, research and the sharing of intelligence and information, emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration with business and relevant government agencies, and reaffirmed the importance of using data analysis and analytical tools to improve risk management capacities.
On 30 June 2018, Directors General of Customs attending the annual sessions of the WCO Council re-elected the incumbent Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, for a further five-year term with effect from 1 January 2019. In response to his re-election, Dr. Mikuriya said, “I am deeply honoured by the trust that Directors General of Customs from around the world have placed in my ability to lead the Secretariat. I will continue working in close cooperation with all of them to achieve the Organization’s goals and realize our vision of modernization and connectivity.”
In addition, on the sidelines of this Council Session, the WCO Secretary General and Canada Customs signed a MoU on the creation of a WCO Regional Dog Training Centre (RDTC).
The WCO Secretary General also signed the following Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in the presence of delegates: one with Korea Customs on the establishment of a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory; one with Tunisia Customs on the establishment of a WCO Regional Training Centre (RTC); and, finally, one with Hungary Customs on the setting up of a Regional Dog Training Centre (RDTC).
Delegates also witnessed Vanuatu deposit its instrument of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention, thus becoming the 115th Contracting Party to the Convention.