From 6 to 8 July 2017, the 129th/130th Sessions of the WCO Council were held in Brussels, Belgium, led by Ruslan Davydov, the Chairperson of the Council and First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, together with Kunio Mikuriya, the WCO Secretary General. The INCU has observer status at the Council.
Discussions focused on a number of key issues: trade facilitation, including the WCO Mercator Programme that was designed to assist WCO Members in implementing the Customs related measures contained in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), security initiatives, combating illicit financial flows, and customs-tax-cooperation, in particular the challenges and opportunities from a Customs perspective.
Members of the Council also recognized the critical role played by capacity building, research and the sharing of intelligence and information, as well as the necessity for enhanced international collaboration with businesses and all relevant agencies, and the importance of using data analysis and other technology-related trade management tools that would ensure better coordinated border management.
Mr. Enrique Canon, the Director General of Uruguay Customs, was elected as Chairperson of the Council. The WCO Secretary General said, “I am convinced that we will benefit greatly from the new Chairperson’s experience, balanced approach and ability to lead strategic change, which is of immense value to the Members and Secretariat of the WCO.”
In addition, on the sidelines of the Council Sessions, the WCO Secretary General and China Customs signed a revised MoU regarding the WCO Regional Training Centre (RTC), expanding the RTC in Shanghai to also cover the Customs Training Centre in Xiamen, which is another example of the value attached to regional WCO bodies.
Delegates also witnessed Burkina Faso deposit its instrument of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention making Burkina Faso the 111th Contracting Party.
The WCO also celebrated its 65th anniversary at a special reception noting that the WCO membership had grown to over 180 Members in 2017.