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WCO concludes the cycle of regional consultations on the Strategic Plan with the Asia/Pacific region

On 11 and 12 October 2021, the sixth and last regional consultation on the next Strategic Plan was conducted with the Asia/Pacific (A/P) region. The session was jointly chaired by the Vice-Chair for the A/P region, Mr. Askolani from Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance, and the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa. Approximately 45 participants attended the session, which was held virtually.

In his introductory remarks, the Vice-Chair for the A/P region highlighted the need to properly address the current challenges facing Customs while also giving thought to future challenges. He stressed that the discussions on the development of the next Strategic Plan should serve as a basis for better anticipating the future role of Customs. The WCO Deputy Secretary General agreed that the next Strategic Plan had to be agile and adaptable, focusing on the current core business of Customs administrations and predicting emerging trends that required special attention. He added that the Strategic Plan should respond to the immediate needs of Members while providing a way forward to address future realities.

The A/P region then held an exchange of views on the features of the next Strategic Plan. Participants felt that continuity had to be ensured, taking the positive outcomes of the Strategic Plan 2019-2022 as a basis. They underscored the fact that Customs’ mission had not changed drastically in the past three years and that the initial focus on trade facilitation, revenue collection and protection of society should be maintained. They did, however, state that these matters should be examined from a fresh perspective, fully taking into consideration the growth of e-commerce and new types of threat surrounding encountered by Customs within supply chains and at borders. They called for a smart approach based on achieving smart development of Customs’ core functions, in order to remain relevant when confronted with future challenges.

This cycle of Members’ consultations, drawing to a close with this last regional meeting, will define the new WCO Strategic Plan. Once again this exercise proved extremely valuable, as demonstrated by the strong commitment shown by all WCO regions and Members to the process. The next steps will entail the compiling of all the feedback received and the production of the first draft of the next Strategic Plan to be presented initially at the December 2021 Policy Commission. Further discussions will follow and Members will remain fully engaged in the process right up to the presentation of the finalized Strategic Plan at the June 2022 Policy Commission and Council.

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