14 March 2017, Suva, Fiji
The 18th WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) Conference was held in Suva, Fiji. Delegates from Australia, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu and Viet Nam. Along with Secretary General of the WCO as well as the representatives from the WCO Secretariat, RILO A/P and the OCO Secretariat, Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P, attended the Conference as an observer.
The Conference was commenced with the Fijian traditional welcoming ceremony at the Great Council of Chiefs in Suva. Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister of Economy made a key note address, stressing the important role of Customs in border control and trade facilitation. Under the chairmanship of the Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority and the WCO A/P Regional Vice Chair, the Conference discussed a series of agenda items, including the Regional Strategic Plan and the WCO governance. Mr. Igarashi made a brief report on the progresses of the ROCB A/P’s annual work plan made in the last 8 months in 2016/2017. Among others, he highlighted the outcomes of the recent RTC Heads Meeting held in December 2016 in Hong Kong, China, and publication of the Customs Good Practice Papers on the Lessons learned from the WCO/ADB SASEC Multi-year projects and the findings from the Survey on the follow-up actions taken after the participation in the WCO regional workshops in FY2015/16. He also touched upon the ROCB A/P website, which has exceeded 1 million visits at the beginning of March 2017 since its launching in September 2014. In the wake of his presentation, several delegates took the floor and gave their kind words of compliments and encouragement to the ROCB A/P’s undertakings as well as some constructive suggestions for the future work, including the implementation of the WCO Mercator Program Tailor-made track designed for assisting the WCO Member administrations to implementation of the WTO Trade facilitation Agreement, which came into force on 22 February 2017.
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