DRAFT 17TH WCO Asia Pacific Regional Contact Point Meeting .doc by suchufp



              17TH WCO Asia Pacific Regional Contact Point Meeting

                                   SUMMARY REPORT

1. The 17th WCO Asia Pacific Regional Contacts Points Meeting was held from 1-4
   October 2007 in Goa, India. It was attended by 42 delegates from: Australia;
   Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; China; Fiji; Hong Kong China; India; Japan; Macao
   China; Malaysia; Maldives; New Zealand; Pakistan; Republic of Korea; Singapore;
   Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives from the Oceania Customs Organisation
   (OCO), Asia Pacific Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO A/P), Regional
   Office of Capacity Building (ROCB) and WCO also attended in the capacity of

2. Mr. S. K. Shingal, Chairman, Central Board of Excise & Customs, of the Indian
   Customs Administration inaugurated the meeting and made the opening

3. He welcomed all the delegates and appreciated the larger representation from the
   region. He noted that this meeting would take forward and adopt the Regional
   Strategic Plan for 2008-10 and appreciated the cooperation and contribution of all
   the Members especially of the Regional Steering Group, in developing the plan.
   He also hoped that the meeting would be able to address issues concerning
   regional developments and enhance the communication and experience sharing
   between the Members. He appreciated the performance of ROCB and RILO A/P.

Agenda Item I: Election of Chair

4. The RCP meeting then elected the Chair for the meeting. Proposed by Australia
   and seconded by Malaysia, Ms. Kameswari Subramanian of Indian Customs
   Administration was elected as the Chair.

Agenda Item II: Adoption of Agenda

5. The Meeting adopted the Agenda after taking note of an additional four
   presentations at Item VI (Korea and Pakistan under International Supply Chain
   Security and Facilitation, Australian under Research and Information Sharing and
   Korea under Capacity Building) and the suggestion by the Chair to make minor
   adjustments regarding time schedule for the presentations and meeting.
Agenda Item III: Business Arrangement

6. The representative of the Vice Chair’s office outlined the business arrangement
   for the meeting.

Agenda Item IV: Presentation from WCO

7. The WCO Observer made a presentation on the outcome of the June 2007 Council
   Session and June 2007 Policy Commission meeting. She provided an update on
   progress in respect of the SAFE Framework, the Customs in the 21 st Century
   paper and the Columbus Program, noting that progress into Phase 2 was all about
   customs administrations taking over ownership – moving from words to actions.
   The Observer also covered developments on enforcement issues, including the
   establishment of an Operational Coordination Unit in the WCO and nCEN. She
   also advised Delegates that the WCO had introduced an upgraded global web-
   site. The meeting took note of the issues covered and commended the WCO
   Secretariat for the work done. Regarding encouragement to Members to accede to
   the Revised Kyoto Convention, the Delegate of India noted that this issue was one
   of the action points identified by Regional Members for the Regional Strategic
   Plan and that Members and ROCB will continue to work to progress the issue in
   the region.

Agenda Item V: Report of the Vice Chair

8. The representative of the Vice Chair office reported on the work undertaken since
   the last RCP meeting. The report briefly outlined the regional contribution in the
   WCO meetings and the regional interaction by way of exchange of e-mails,
   newsletters, updating of websites and stressed the need to continue to work
   together, to share ideas and experiences to combat illegal activities. The report
   also provided the details of work done by ROCB and RILO A/P and the efforts
   undertaken on the development of a new Regional Strategic Plan.

Agenda Item VI: Presentations and discussions on progress and achievements
under Regional Strategic Plan 2005-2007

9. The Delegate of India gave a presentation on the progress of work by the WCO
   Commercial Fraud Working Group, noting that existing Asia Pacific
   representatives to the group had expressed their willingness to continue their
   representational roles in the group for the next term. The Delegate also provided
   details on the Indian experience regarding commercial fraud and cited the modus
   operandi of certain cases. The Delegate highlighted that greater cooperation
   between Members of the Region and enhancing capacity building in this area was
   required to meet the challenges effectively.
10. The Observer from RILO A/P gave a progress report on RILO A/P activities, the
    support from the host Administration, China, as well as Members and on the
    future direction of RILO A/P. Details covered strengthening intelligence analysis
    and providing more and better intelligence products, promotion of the Customs
    Enforcement Network and providing increased technical assistance programs in
    the region. He also reported on the progress made on Projects Sky Hole Patching,
    Crocodile and Targeting MBMA Smuggling. The Delegate of China congratulated
    RILO A/P for the work accomplished and offered China’s continuing support for
    RILO A/P. The Delegate of Japan also indicated Japan’s continuing support and
    extended Japan’s appreciation to China for the work undertaken in supporting
    the RILO A/P office.

11. The Delegate of China made a verbal report on the latest development of the
    China-EU Smart and Secure Trade Lane Pilot Project. The report provided an
    insight to the objectives and measures taken by China Customs in the Pilot Project
    focusing on the implementation of the Framework. Meanwhile, the delegate of
    China also made a presentation on the AEO adoption in China, which is regarded
    as the real sense implementation of the Framework.

12. The Delegate of Japan made a presentation on the Security and Facilitation of
    Trade. The presentation highlighted the importance of trade facilitation and
    outlined the related issues that were being currently considered in the WTO,
    WCO and APEC. The presentation then gave a detailed account of the relevant
    trade facilitation issues under consideration in the WTO and the progress of
    negotiations in the WTO. The presentation also provided insight into Japan’s
    approach to trade facilitation through the Asia Gateway Initiative, trade
    procedures restructuring program, AEO and mutual recognition. The
    presentation also covered Japan’s package of assistance to developing countries
    on existing and new issues. The Chair noted that there were about ten customs
    issues on the table at the WTO, which were already linked to WCO instruments
    and encouraged Members to consult with trade officials regarding negotiations
    on those issues even if unable to participate directly in the negotiations.

13. The Delegate from Korea informed the meeting about the development of Korea’s
    AEO program and its related Customs data exchange program. The presentation
    covered legislative amendments and pilot work underway with the Philippines
    and Belgium. The Delegate advised that Korea will be hosting an IT Conference
    next year, scheduled for 23-26 April.

14. The Delegate of Pakistan made a presentation on the Pakistan Customs’ Strategic
    Response towards Securing International Supply Chain Security, which had been
    set in place under Pakistan’s National Supply Chain Security Strategy. The
    Delegate confirmed that under the Port Qasim pilot with the US that 100%
    consignments to US were subject to inspection.
15. The Delegate of New Zealand briefed the meeting on the progress of AEO
    programs, including mutual recognition in the Asia Pacific Region and provided
    a paper that contained the consolidated details for the region. The paper outlined
    progress in Australia, China, Hong Kong China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New
    Zealand, Singapore and Thailand. The Delegate of Australia suggested that the
    Regional Steering Group (RSG) should continue the work on consolidating
    information on regional AEO programs. The Observer from WCO suggested that
    this information could be shared with other WCO regions by placing it on the
    regional web-site.

16. The Delegate of Australia made a presentation on APEC work relating to Single
    Window providing details of the background to the work and future directions.
    Details covered the formation of an APEC Single Window Working Group and its
    work on preparing a Strategic Plan, which contained a number of
    recommendations and a Development Report. The Delegate informed Delegates
    that preplanning is underway for Phase 2 of the APEC work on this issue. The
    Chair noted that these inputs were very useful and suggested that this
    information be shared with the WCO as this issue is one of the major concepts
    under WTO trade facilitation negotiations.

17. The Delegate of Australia presented the updated Asia Pacific Environmental Plan,
    which covered contemporary global influences on customs business, as well as
    the regional economic profile. The scan noted that customs will be increasingly
    important for managing the impact of the global developments at national
    borders and that an individual administration’s capacity to respond to the
    challenges will rest on that administration’s stage of development.

18. The Delegate of Australia provided a further presentation on key issues on the
    work agendas of other regional organizations i.e. APEC, ASEAN, ASEM and the

19. The Delegate of India gave a detailed presentation on the capacity building and
    training activities in Indian Customs and the major initiatives taken on adoption
    of IT systems and scanning technology. The presentation also provided details
    about the Indian Customs training academy i.e. (National Academy of Customs
    Excise & Narcotics) NACEN and the programs conducted by it.

20. The Delegate of Japan, as the Regional Training Coordinator, presented the
    results of technical assistance survey, which had been conducted to identify the
    existing regional technical assistance needs. The Delegate also provided details on
    regional events, the review of fund management system, the support provided
    under the CCF, Japan and WCO scholarship and fellowship programs. He
    concluded that Japan Customs in collaboration with ROCB would continue to
   develop appropriate capacity building programs towards realizing Customs
   reforms and modernization. The Delegate of Fiji thanked Japan for providing
   training assistance and suggested that after the WCO diagnostic mission, the
   training needs of each Member should be looked into as some past training
   provided had not matched requirements. On query from the Delegate of Korea,
   the Delegate of Japan explained that demand for programs relating to trade
   facilitation and security was significant. However, that individual Member’s
   requirements were assessed through the needs survey, which is coordinated
   through ROCB in order to develop the appropriate training programs. The ROCB
   Observer stated that the ROCB was working towards progressing
   implementation plans and since the WCO diagnostic reports were confidential it
   is not possible to forecast regional training needs in this regard. The diagnostic
   outcomes would help identify two issues – what needs to be addressed and what
   technical assistance is required. The ROCB could establish trends and analyse
   needs if provided with a copy of individual Member’s summary of their
   diagnostic report. The Chair noted that it would be useful to provide information
   on other areas of technical assistance required as this would give all Members an
   appreciation of where others require some technical help and agreed for the need
   to link into the Columbus Program to get voluntary disclosure of the outcomes of
   the assessments. The Delegate of Japan agreed that the needs survey could be
   changed to identify the specific elements to be addressed.

21. The Observer from ROCB presented a progress report on work undertaken under
    the existing Regional Strategic Plan, Key Result Area 1 – Capacity Building. The
    report covered the delivery of seminars, the establishment of an Annual Action
    Plan for regional capacity building and technical assistance activities, cooperation
    with Regional Training centres, ROCB participation in regional seminars,
    consultation and cooperation with donors and future activities including a
    seminar on container x-ray in Australia in 2008 and a meeting of donors in
    Bangkok before the end of the year. Regarding SECURE, the Observer stated that
    the standards are still under development but the ROCB is giving some thought
    on how to approach assistance with implementation. The RILO A/P Observer
    indicated that RILO A/P wished to continue a close association with the ROCB
    and questioned whether the ROCB would attend the next RILO A/P National
    Contact Points meeting. The OCO Observer thanked the ROCB for the recent
    workshops in Fiji, noting that most of the participants were from administrations
    that were not WCO Members and added that the OCO was looking to the ROCB
    for future support and cooperation. The Delegate from Malaysia expressed her
    thanks to the ROCB for the capacity building assistance provided to Malaysia but
    noted that there should be better coordination between the work of all assistance

22. The Delegate of Korea made a presentation on the development of Korea’s
    capacity building programs, providing details on the background and specific
   elements of the programs, which have benefited 245 officials from WCO Asia
   Pacific Members and 21 officials from ASEAN Members. The Delegate also
   provided information on 14th Regional Capacity Building Seminar organized by
   Korea Customs in August, 2007.

23. The Delegate of Malaysia gave a report on the WCO Audit Committee, informing
    Delegates of the background to the committee, including that Malaysia is the
    regional representative on the committee and India the alternate. The Delegate
    also reported on the matters discussed at the committee’s first meeting, noting
    that the last WCO Council endorsed the Audit Committee’s approach and its
    proposed three year program. The Delegate informed the meeting that the next
    meeting of the Audit Committee would be a “virtual meeting” in October and
    that Members should examine the Audit Committee’s Report – paper SP0244E1a
    and submit any comments to her in time for the virtual meeting. The next
    meeting of the Audit Committee in Brussels is scheduled for April 2008.

24. The Delegate of Australia made a presentation on the benefits of a closer working
    relationship with business. The presentation outlined Australia’s experience with
    working with E-bay and other on-line service providers utilizing information held
    by those entities for Customs targeting purposes, as well as towards launching
    investigations into possible past illegal importations. The presentation
    highlighted Australian Customs past successes intercepting illegal items at the
    border and outlined the wider criminal linkage uncovered through further
    investigations by Australian customs and other Australian law enforcement

25. The OCO Observer made a presentation on the role and function of OCO and on
    some key activities. The meeting took note of the excellent work that was being
    done by the OCO and its Members. The Delegate of New Zealand commented
    that the OCO was a useful example of how smaller customs administrations
    could get together and tackle common interest issues, citing the study on customs
    regionalization and the IT study – automation for small administrations as good
    examples of this work.

Regional Strategic Plan 2008-10

26. India facilitated the discussions on the adoption of the Regional Strategic Plan
    2008-10. The suggestions received from the Members after the draft was last
    modified, were discussed and necessary changes were incorporated in the text.
    The meeting adopted the final text of Regional Strategic Plan 2008-10, as enclosed
    at Annexure –A.
Agenda Item VII: Other Business

27. The Delegate of China informed the meeting of China’s willingness to continue to
    host the RILO A/P. for another term. The meeting agreed by consensus to China’s

28. The meeting also discussed the hosting and maintenance of Asia Pacific regional
    website. The representative from the Vice Chair’s office informed that there were
    some important issues to hosting the web-site including investment in
    maintaining the site, the costs being borne by the host administration. On account
    of this ongoing investment that it may be best for one administration to
    continually maintain the site rather than routinely move it, as has occurred in the
    past. India was happy to retain the maintenance of the site however, it would be
    open to any other regional administration to undertake this role should the
    meeting agree to the suggested change to past practice. The meeting agreed that
    the decision on hosting the site be left to the next Vice Chair although the issue
    could be further discussed in the Regional Steering Group meeting following.

Agenda Item VIII: Date and Venue of the 18th RCP Meeting

29. Regarding the time and venue of the next RCP meeting, the Chair observed that
    conventionally the next Vice Chair would host it. The meeting took note of the

    Adoption of the executive summary of the meeting

30. The Chair proposed that the full report of the meeting would be sent by e-mail to
    the RCPs who could send their comments within a week so that the report may be
    finalized at the earliest. The meeting adopted the suggestion.

Agenda Item IX: Regional Steering Group Meeting

31. The Regional Steering Group consisting of Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea,
    New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and ROCB met on 4th October 2007 after the
    RCP meeting was concluded. Agreement was reached to include the evaluation
    of the RSG and hosting of the regional website on the agenda for the meeting.

32. Regarding ROCB administrative issues the ROCB informed that its planning has
    entailed the development of an Annual Report, which is normally circulated to
    RSG members in December for comment. Also, that a three year Strategic Plan is
    to be developed. This will be circulated for comment to RSP Members. From that
    point a Work Plan will be developed and this also will be circulated for comment
    by RSG Members. Australia suggested that the ROCB planning should align with
   the activities set out in the new Regional Strategic Plan. ROCB agreed to make the
   necessary changes.

33. ROCB pointed out that the implementation of the SAFE Framework was one of
    the important regional issues where there is a need to adopt country specific
    approach to assistance as well as a regional approach through mechanisms such
    as regional seminars. Japan mentioned that assistance with implementation of the
    SAFE Framework would depend on the Action Plan of individual Members.
    India suggested that Members should provide a summary of the outcomes
    contained in the WCO Diagnostic Reports to the ROCB, which would help in
    taking a decision on country specific requirements.

34. ROCB mentioned that it had received a suggestion that information on planned
    capacity building assistance be posted on the regional web-site where all could
    reference the information. The ROCB also mentioned that the donors issue is very
    important in respect of capacity building and the ROCB website will institute a
    new forum where inputs from donors could be sent. Australia expressed its
    appreciation for the suggestion and stated that it would be useful for donors to
    have a single reference point. ROCB informed that this part of ROCB website
    would be made functional within two weeks. China suggested that a formal letter
    to all Members should be arranged to request information on planned assistance
    activities to include on the website.

35. China also suggested that ROCB should provide opportunities to all Regional
    Members to contribute experts towards capacity building, suggesting a greater
    use of the regional accredited trainers and to further develop the number of
    accredited regional trainers. The ROCB informed that the WCO position is that
    WCO assistance activities are to be performed by WCO accredited trainers. The
    current issue for the ROCB is to maintain the existing pool of regional accredited
    trainers as the WCO has restricted its accreditation of trainers processes and is
    now focusing more on management issues. New Zealand mentioned that if there
    is existing capability in the region to provide technical assistance then Director
    Generals should be convinced by the RSG of the importance of the issue for the
    region. Many other observations were made on the expertise available within the
    region and that this should be utilized in addition to using WCO accredited
    trainers, notwithstanding the WCO position. ROCB informed that this issue,
    including the cost of experts, was on the agenda items of the next Heads of
    Training Centers Meeting. China stated that the RTC meeting may not be in a
    position to decide on the provision of experts and ROCB may consider organizing
    another forum to decide on capacity building issues. Australia questioned why
    technical experts in RTC could not be used for regional training. India responded
    that in its case RTC staffing largely comprised of coordinators, technical expertise
    trainers were drawn from the working areas concerned on a needs basis. The
    Chair suggested that the matter of a regional pool of experts should be brought to
   the attention of Regional Heads of Administrations.

36. Korea queried what accreditation by the WCO actually meant. ROCB responded
    that the WCO provided teaching methods on specific areas and topics, citing the
    recent examples of sessions on the HS system and Valuation, where two officials
    from China and one from Mongolia attended. Accreditation by the WCO lasts for
    three years and is not necessarily limited to training in specific topics. The
    intention is to have a “pool” of experts that the WCO can draw on to undertake
    training activities.

37. Pakistan mentioned that it had a pool of experts awaiting accreditation and it was
    happy to offer the services of those experts for regional activities

38. Regarding administrative issues relating to RILO A/P., the meeting agreed that
    the RILO A/P would be considered by the RSG so RILO A/P should be included
    in the RSG from the next meeting. The Meeting also decided that RILO A/P
    should provide its program to the RSG for implementing its activities set out in
    the new RSP. The Chair stated that the Vice Chair will write to the Head of RILO
    A/P in this regard.

39. The review of RSG was also discussed. New Zealand questioned whether the RSG
    should have an annual work plan. There was general discussion on this issue and
    broad agreement that more use could be made of the RSG in the future to assist
    the Vice Chair on regional issues. It was agreed that the Vice Chair should
    proactively send out a list of important meetings that address issues that need
    tackling from a regional perspective with the view of coordinating comments for
    those meetings, for example, Customs in 21st Century, SAFE Working Group and
    Integrity Sub Committee.

40. China suggested that representatives of Audit Committee should also be included
    in the RSG, which was agreed. It was also suggested that in future the RSG
    should meet before the RCP meeting and if required a couple of months before
    the Regional Heads Meeting although not for the next Heads meeting.

41. Implementation of Regional Strategic Plan 2008-2010 was also discussed. It was
    agreed that the coordinators should report to the Vice Chair in six-monthly
    intervals on progress. Reports would also be prepared for RCP and Regional
    Heads meetings.

42. Regarding the issue of integrity Korea informed the meeting that Korea was
    preparing a paper on integrity to provide to the WCO. It was also noted that
    Malaysia is currently the Chair of the WCO Integrity Sub-Committee and that
    under Regional Strategic Plan 2008-10, the RSG is the responsible party, for
    developing an action plan to promote integrity in the region. In order to assist
   with this task the Chair stated that the Vice Chair’s office would liaise with
   Malaysia and Korea for possible suggestions for the action plan. The ROCB
   agreed to provide compilation of the best practices on integrity. Australia
   mentioned that it would be useful to have something developed in time for the
   Regional Heads meeting next year. Also, that focus should be on a small number
   of deliverable activities rather than an expansive number that would be difficult
   to implement.

43. On hosting of regional website it was agreed to leave current arrangements in
    place and that some thought be given to whether the issue should be on the
    agenda for the next Regional Heads meeting.

44. Regarding draft agenda for the next Regional Heads Meeting it was agreed that
    the suggestions would be sent by the Members by early November. Korea
    informed that they are holding WCO IT Conference during April, 2007 which
    may be taken into consideration while fixing the dates for Regional Heads
    Meeting, which was taken note of.

45. The final text of Regional Strategic Plan 2008-10 is enclosed at Annexure–A and
    list of all delegates is enclosed at Annexure-B.


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