19-21 April 2021, Online Workshop hosted by ROCB A/P
The WCO Asia-Pacific Regional Online Workshop on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was held 19 to 21 April 2021. The Workshop was organized by the WCO under the sponsorship of the Japan Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF/Japan). Around 50 Delegates from more than 20 Customs administrations in the AP region attended the Workshop and discussed the topics related to the WTO TFA. Mr. Noriakzu Kuramoto, Head, Ms. Yuko Mamiya, Program Manager, Ms. Jate-arpa Benjaphong, Program Coordinator, and Ms. Pattarapak Nopnakeepong, Program Coordinator of the ROCB A/P, also attended the Workshop to support the facilitation of the Workshop.
Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, the WCO Director, Compliance and Facilitation, opened the Workshop and warmly welcomed the participants and observers. In his opening remarks, Mr. Das highlighted that it is important to discuss and monitor the implementation of the WTO TFA at the national level as well as learn about the challenges we are facing today in the year when the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee conducts the review of progress made in implementing the WTO TFA. He also mentioned that the WCO has dedicated to unite the efforts of Member Customs Administrations ever since the pandemic. He concluded his remarks by encouraging participants to actively share their experience on how we can overcome the challenges.
Mr. Kuramoto also delivered the opening remarks. He conveyed his sincere appreciation to the WCO for organizing this Workshop and to the Japan Customs for financial support to the implementation of the WTO TFA. He emphasized that the Mercator progam developed by the WCO has supported Members’ effort on the implementation of the WTO TFA. He also mentioned that Customs Administrations recognize again the importance of the implementation of the TFA from the perspective of disaster countermeasures. He concluded his remarks with wishing the success of this workshop.
Mr. Hidetoshi Aramaki, Director for International Technical Cooperation, Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance, expressed his gratitude to the WCO and ROCB A/P for organizing this workshop with fruitful agenda. He underlined that trade facilitation is quite important especially amid the pandemic and the WCO instruments and tools such as the WCO Guidelines on disaster management and supply chain continuity to fight against COVID-19 are important and useful for Members to ensure supply chain facilitation during the pandemic. He also expressed his wish for the fruitful discussions during 3 days workshop.
During the Workshop, the participants actively shared their experience on the implementation of the WTO TFA including measures for facilitating the movement of essential goods in the pandemic, Role of technologies, Cooperation with the private sector, Coordinated Border Management, National Committees on Trade Facilitation, Mercator Maturity Model and WCO Time Release Study. Mercator Programme Advisors (MPAs) in the AP region also contributed to this workshop by facilitating discussions and introducing the WCO instruments and tools. Ms. Mamiya updated the capacity building activities in the AP region by highlighting the ROCB A/P’s response to the COVID-19 by assisting in organizing virtual workshops and meetings, enriching the publication to enhance communication and information sharing even during the pandemic.
The Workshop was an excellent occasion for exchanging their experience and best practices on the implementation of the WTO TFA and discussing the way forward. The participants expressed their appreciation to CCF/Japan, the WCO, MPAs, the ROCB A/P and the presenters.
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