26-28 April 2021, Online Workshop
The WCO Free Zone Virtual Workshop for Asia/Pacific Region was held from 26 to 28 April 2021. The Workshop was organized by WCO under the sponsorship of the China Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF/China) and hosted by ROCB A/P. Together with the experts on Free Zone from the WCO, Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto, Head of the ROCB A/P, Ms. Zhengqing Ye, Program Manager of the ROCB A/P, Ms. Yuko Mamiya, Program Manager of the ROCB A/P, Ms. Pavida Boonmun, Assistant Program Manager of the ROCB A/P, Ms. Vareemon Chairungsrilert, Program Coordinator, and Ms. Jate-arpa Benjaphong, Program Coordinator of the ROCB A/P, also joined as facilitators/coordinators for the Workshop.
The workshop was attended by more than 50 participants from 19 AP Member administrations as well as representatives from the private sectors and the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD). The Workshop provided an excellent opportunity for participants to present their national administrations’ experiences of free zones (FZs) and to discuss good practices and the challenges that they are facing.
Topics discussed during the Workshop included the current situation of FZs, Customs’ roles in FZs, cooperation between authorities and the private sector and emerging challenges in FZs. Participants emphasized the expansion of FZs had been seen as a policy tool for economic development. However, incentives such as tax benefits and relaxed regulations attracted legitimate trade, they are also often susceptible to exploitation for illicit purposes. At the session 9, Ms. Yuko Mamiya, Program Manager of ROCB A/P moderated the discussion on the enhancing cooperation in FZs and underscored the importance of establishing strong partnerships with business, including through the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) concept, of receiving advance information from traders, and of using modern technologies to mitigate risks while facilitating legal trade flows.
With an objective of sharing experiences and gathering input on preventing illicit trade in FZs, the Workshop was very well received by participants and raised a lot of interest and heated discussions. The participants expressed their appreciation to the WCO, the ROCB A/P and the Experts for their great support to the workshop.
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