The ROCB A/P renews cooperative ties with the OCO
11-13 June 2018, Melbourne, Australia
At the invitation of the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P participated in the 20th OCO Annual Meeting held on 11-13 June 2018 in Melbourne, Australia, accompanying Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, as an observer. More than 60 delegates from the OCO Member administrations and partner entities, including the WCO, participated.
The Conference was officiated with an opening address by Mr. Michael Outram, Australian Border Force Commissioner, followed by key note address by Secretary General Mikuriya, in which he highlighted the WCO’s current and future priority work. Among other things, Secretary General highlighted the WCO’s support for the islands’ economic development and supply chain security. As cross-cutting issues for those enumerated priority work, Secretary General referred to data analysis, application of technology and human resource development. Taking this commemorating Annual Conference, 15 OCO Member administrations signed to the memorandum of intention for closer administrative assistance in information and intelligence exchange to contend with the threats posed by terrorism and transnational organized crime. Taking this opportunity, the Honorable Natan Teewe, Kiribati Minister of Justice, deposited the instrument of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) to Secretary General, which marked the first accession of the non-WCO Member to it. Secretary General commended the Kiribati government for showcasing the determined leadership towards Customs reform responding to the suggestions made by the ROCB A/P at the last OCO Annual Conference held in May 2017 in Guam (please refer to: http://www.rocb-ap.org/article-detail/325/?crmid=7rs9sr6983e912m132d26tngr6). OCO also celebrated the launching of the Pacific Harmonized Commodity and Coding System (PACHS2017), which was developed based on the WCO’s Harmonized System nomenclature to better capture commodity trade statistics in line with the international standard. Secretary General was presented a copy of the PACHS2017 as a token of the WCO’s support and dedication in this regard.
The Conference discussed a wide range of topics in 3 days, which were opened for the observers, including: (1) Enhancing the role of Custom in regional integration and trade facilitation; (2) Strengthening cooperation and information exchange on law enforcement matters: (3) Development of technical and professional capability of Customs in the Pacific; and (4) Strategies for the Reform of Customs administrations. Mr. Igarashi made a presentation under the Session 3 regarding the development of technical and professional capability. Mr. Igarashi explained capacity building collaboration with the OCO and its Members and suggested way forward towards furthering human resource development for smoother implementation of Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relationship (PACER Plus) and pertinent WCO instrument and guidelines for trade facilitation. In terms of providing consistent and transparent Customs services to legitimate trade, he stressed the significance of advance ruling in accordance with the PACHS2017 and, to the extent possible, the HS Convention by acceding to it. In the wake of the discussion on the possible WCO Membership of the OCO Member administrations, Mr. Igarashi made an explanation on the benefits of the WCO Members as well as simple cost-benefit comparison thereof, which drew great attention of the non-WCO administrations. In the margin of the Conference, Mr. Igarashi exchanged views and discussed future work plans with Member administrations and stakeholders.