21st Regional Training Center (RTC) Heads Meeting

14-16 November 2023, at RTC Japan in Kashiwa, Japan
The 21st Meeting of the Heads of Asia/Pacific WCO Regional Training Centres (RTCs) was held from 14-16 November 2023, at RTC Japan in Kashiwa, Japan. The event was co-organized by the Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB A/P) and Japan Customs. The meeting commenced with welcoming remarks from Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto, Head of ROCB A/P, Mr. AOYAMA Shigetoshi, Managing Director of Japan Customs, Dr. Taeil Kang, the WCO Director of Capacity Building, and virtual remarks from the APVC, Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner, and Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr. Michael Outram APM.
Participating in the meeting were the Heads of the RTCs in the region, including RTC China, RTC Hong Kong China, RTC India, RTC Indonesia, RTC Japan, RTC Korea, RTC Malaysia, and RTC Thailand. Representatives from the WCO, the Asia/Pacific Vice-Chair’s Office, and the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P) also attended.
During the meeting, RTC leaders engaged in discussions aimed at strengthening Customs capacities and contributing to modernization efforts in the region. Mr. Kuramoto provided a comprehensive report on capacity building activities conducted in the A/P region, emphasizing the importance of cooperation among RTCs. Program managers from ROCB A/P presented updates on publications, follow-up action surveys, training management, and shared the WCO CLiKC! experience. RILO A/P outlined their activities, and each RTC shared their recent initiatives, focusing on enhancing Customs professionalism and fostering mutual learning regarding training strategies. These initiatives aligned with the theme of the year, "Nurturing the next generation by promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing and professional pride in Customs," with an emphasis on training for younger generations, including curriculum and methods of induction training. The WCO regional development manager also provided updates on WCO policies and initiatives, with a particular focus on assessing the impacts of capacity building.
The Heads of RTCs also exchanged views on the evolution of Customs training, particularly in light of the pandemic's impact on learning methodologies. Delegates shared insights on the use of innovative tools such as e-Learning platforms, video conferencing, and blended learning approaches that became essential components of training during the pandemic. As in-person training resumed, participants explored ways to leverage rapidly advancing technologies to enhance the effectiveness of training programs. These discussions aimed to identify good practices and strategies for improving the in-person Capacity Building activities of the WCO, making the most of recent technologies for enhanced learning experiences.
Furthermore, during the event, delegates had the privilege of visiting the advanced Customs Learning Centre in Kashiwa, Japan, gaining valuable insights into the advanced training facilities. Additionally, an informative site visit was organized to Yokohama Customs, where participants had the opportunity to learn about AI-powered risk profiling in mail center and explore Yokohama Customs' headquarters facilities.
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