After an absence of almost a decade, the WCO convened a Knowledge Academy at its headquarters in Brussels. It took place right after the WCO Open Day for Trade, and ran for eight days, between 28 June and 8 July 2011. Over 50 delegates from both the private sector and WCO Member administrations travelled to Brussels from all parts of the world to attend the Academy. One of these was local systems architect, Anton Eccles (E-Tradex) based in Cape Town.
A total of 11 modules were offered focussing on key areas of WCO work, namely tariff and trade affairs (HS 2012, Rules of Origin, Valuation, Transfer Pricing), and facilitation and enforcement (WCO Data Model, AEO/SAFE, Risk Management). Following classroom activities participants travelled to the Port of Rotterdam for a presentation by Dutch Customs followed by a boat tour. This visit provided participants with the opportunity to see Customs procedures that were discussed and analyzed during the Academy in actual operation.
Thirty-four speakers, trainers and facilitators were involved: 17 were WCO staff members and they were joined by 17 external experts who were invited to address participants in either plenary sessions or during one of the training courses. Speakers included experts from three international organizations: the World Trade Organization (WTO); the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In review, Anton maintains “the course was excellent and we had access to some really knowledgeable people. I think it was a good place to get an overall view of where the world of customs and global trade is moving too. Besides the course itself, the opportunity to share some experiences with people from other countries really gives you a good perspective what we do in South Africa”. The next Knowledge Academy is planned for July 2012.
South African visitors also attended the Trade Open Day. Louise Wiggett (E-Tradex) and Mark Goodger (GMLS) stressed the importance of good partnerships between customs and trade. Both parties cannot operate effectively in their own capacity and it is only by joining forces that international trade can flow in a compliant, operationally effective and cost effective manner.
To view a selection of photos from the WCO Council Session 2011, click here!