Archives For Capacity building

Copy of Enhancing Images

At least 30 representatives of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recently met in Maseru – capital of the ‘Mountain Kingdom’ – Lesotho, to undertake a 5-day training workshop on the WCO Data Model, between 29 May to 2 June.

The training formed part of capacity building support to Member States to implement IT connectivity and information exchange between SACU Customs Administration. The training was facilitated by WCO Data Model Expert, Mr Carl Wilbers from South African Revenue Service (SARS) and GEFEG.FX software tool Expert, Mr. Martin Krusch from GEFEG, Germany.

The recent ratification of Annex E to the SACU agreement – on the use of Customs-2-Customs (C-2-C) Data Exchange between member states – paves the way for participating countries to exchange data within the terms of the agreement on the basis of the GNC Utility Block, also greed to by the respective member states. It also coincides with recent work on the establishment of a SACU Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) which must be implemented by the SACU countries in all export and transit data exchanges between themselves, respectively.

Just recently, in May 2017, the heads of SACU Customs administrations were presented a prototype demonstration of data exchange between the respective systems of the South African Revenue Service and the Swaziland Revenue Authority.

The WCO Data Model provides a maximum framework of standardized and harmonized sets of data and standard electronic messages (XML and EDIFACT) to be submitted by Trade for Cross-Border Regulatory Agencies such as Customs to accomplish formalities for the arrival, departure, transit and release of goods, means of transport and persons in international cross border trade.

The course was extremely comprehensive, providing SACU customs users the full spectrum of the power and capability which the GEFEG.FX software tool brings to the WCO’s Data Model. GEFEG is also the de facto Customs data modelling and data mapping tool for several customs and border authorities worldwide. It significantly enhances what was once very tedious work and simplifies the process of mapping data, ensuring that the user maintains alignment and consistency with the most up-to-date version of WCO data model. One of the more significant capabilities of the GEFEG.FX software is its reporting and publishing capability. For examples of this please visit the CITES electronic permitting toolkit and the EU Customs Data Model webpages, respectively. Pretty awesome indeed!

Users had the opportunity of mapping the SACU agreed data fields both manually as well as using the tool. The SACU group was able to add additional enhancements to its agreed data model, providing an added benefit of the work session.

Advertisements

wco-lmd

As part of its Capacity Building programme, the WCO organized a Leadership and Management Development (LMD) workshop from 14 until 25 November 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. Nineteen middle managers of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) were inspired to strengthen their leadership and management capacities, as well as their personal effectiveness to drive reforms within their organization. The workshop was made possible with the support of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During a meeting with a delegation of executive management at the end of the LMD workshop, participants were invited to not only implement their newly acquired skills and insights in their own units, but to also continue learning and developing themselves as well as the whole organization. A first follow-up meeting to that end was immediately planned.

In the LMD workshop participants learned that knowing yourself and self-awareness, managing strategically, people management, outstanding communication skills and change management are very important to address SARS’ future challenges. The participating managers were extremely participative and showed a strong motivation and commitment to know, improve and manage themselves, in order to have a great and positive impact on others, as well as on the organization. With personal testimonies at the end of the workshop participants demonstrated their motivation to bridge the gap between policy making and organization-wide implementation of changes.

In the near future SARS will implement its own Leadership and Management Development programme. For further development as a regional centre of expertise in this LMD domain SARS and WCO plan to strengthen their cooperation.

For more information on the WCO Leadership and Management Development Programme, please contact Capacity.Building@wcoomd.org. Source: WCO

WCO Data Model Workshop, Pretoria, South Africa, Dec. 2015

SARS’ EDI and Customs Business Systems representatives with WCO Data Model facilitators Mr. Giandeo Mungroo (2nd from the left) and Ms. Sue Probert (2nd from the right) [Photo – SARS]

Officials of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) last week attended a WCO workshop on the Data Model facilitated by Ms. Sue Probert and Mr. Giandeo Mungroo. The event, held in Pretoria, South Africa was sponsored by the CCF of China as part of the WCO’s Capacity Building endeavours to promote the adoption and use of customs standards and best practice amongst it’s  member states.

The workshop was requested by SARS ahead of new technical and systems developments and requirements informed by SARS’ new Customs Control and Duty Acts. Moreover, there are also political ambition to institute a Border Management Agency for the Republic of South Africa. All of this requires that SARS Customs has a robust electronic tool to assist the organisation in mapping national data requirements according to specific needs.

Besides the use of a value added Data Model tool – GEFEG, it is imperative for the organisation to develop capacity in the knowledge and understanding of the WCO Data Model. SARS has successfully EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for the last 15 years with various local supply chain trading partners and government agencies. Over the last few years SARS has been actively pursuing and promoting IT connectivity with regional trading partners with the express purpose to extend the benefits of eCommerce across borders.

GEFEG.FX software is used to model data formats and develop implementation guidelines for data interchange standards such as UN/EDIFACT. It is a software tool that brings together modelling, XML schema development, and editing of classic EDI standards under a unified user interface, and supports the development of multilingual implementation guidelines.

Version 3 of the WCO Data Model brought about a distinct shift towards an ‘all-of-government’ approach at international borders with the introduction of the GOVCBR (Government Cross Border Regulatory) message. The message and underlying data requirements facilitate the exchange of customs and other government regulatory information to support a Single Window environment.

WCO Data Model not only includes data sets for different customs procedures but also information needed by other Cross-border Regulatory Agencies for the cross-border release and clearance at the border. The WCO Data Model supports the implementation of a Single Window as it allows the reporting of information to all government agency through the unique way it organizes regulatory information. This instrument is already 10 years old and is seeing increased use by WCO members.

Amongst the benefits derived from the workshop, SARS staff acquired the following competencies that will not only aid their work but business user support as well –

  • Competence in operating the tool to build a source control collaborative environment to support national and regional harmonization;
  • Competence to build a base to conduct national/ regional data harmonization based on the WCO Data Model to support national Single Window implementation as well as Regional Integration;
  • Competence to build systems/ electronic interfaces between Customs and its partner government agencies including a Border Management Agency; and
  • Provide needed competence to develop, maintain and publish national and regional information packages based on the WCO Data Model.
First WCO ESA Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization

First WCO ESA Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization

The WCO and the ESA Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB ESA), in cooperation with the Kenyan Revenue Authority, organized the first WCO ESA Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization in Mombasa, Kenya from 19 to 23 May 2014. This workshop was one of the regional key activities in 2014 under the WCO-ESA Project ‘Building Trade Capacity through Customs Modernization in the East and Southern Africa” funded by the Finnish Government.

This workshop was also part of the ongoing efforts of the WCO and the ROCB ESA in supporting Customs Administrations to enhance engagement with development partners for their reform and modernization programmes. Previously, the WCO and the ROCB ESA had organized the first Regional Meeting on Donor Engagement in March 2012 in Mauritius, which provided Members in the ESA region with the opportunity to enhance their understanding of partnership with development partners. The workshop in Kenya was a follow-up on the event in 2012, enabling participating Members to address needs in the field of Resource Mobilization which are essential for subsequent Capacity Building / Customs Reform and Modernization processes at regional and national level. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Heike Barczyk, WCO Deputy Director Capacity Building, Ms. Sigfridur Gunnlaugsdottir, WCO expert from Iceland Customs, and Ms. Riitta Passi, Project Manager within the Finnish-funded project.

A total of 25 participants from 17 ESA regional members took part in the workshop. Participants developed first draft business cases/project proposals that could in the future lead to potential real Capacity Building projects. Reflecting on the current Customs environment, the workshop equally addressed the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF), potential interest from development partners in supporting countries with its implementation and how to best reflect this in respective interaction with those partners including how to address the respective alignment in the different steps towards developing a written project proposal. The workshop is expected to further enhance the collaboration between Customs administrations and development partners for the successful implementation of Customs reform and modernization.

The WCO, the ROCB ESA and participating Members agreed to continue to work together in this regard. Source: WCO – article provided by Ms. Riitta Passi, Project Manager, Nairobi.

From-the-left-are-Maria-du-Preez-Fortunate-Mboweni-and-James-Reddy-from-Bidvest-Panalpina-LogisticsFortunate Mboweni of Bidvest Panalpina Logistics has been named South Africa’s Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year. According to David Logan, CEO at the South Africa Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), the award was based on her submission on the challenges of super abnormal loads and the complexities associated with the handling of ultra-sensitive cargo.

Says Logan: “Mboweni wrote a well-researched paper on two topical subjects: the shipping of highly sensitive material and the management of project (large, abnormal) cargo. The delivery of work was of a high standard and she can be proud of her efforts, which, in my opinion, stands a good chance of winning-at least the RAME [Region Africa Middle East] round.”

“She will now write a dissertation in order to compete in the regional round of the competition, and if she is successful, will be entered as a global finalist into the ‘Final Four’, which will be decided in Istanbul at this year’s Fiata Global Congress.”

The competition was initiated by its lead sponsor, the TT Club, in 1999 and its objectives are the encouragement of training and development in the industry as well as the elevation of professional standards .

Entrants who are brave enough to take up the challenge are obliged to write a dissertation on a topic that is set by SAAFF. This topic allows the entrant to write about current and often challenging issues and to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise on export and import forwarding and clearing matters.

SAAFF’s judging panel carefully adjudicates each entry in order to identify a winner, whose name is then submitted as the candidate for the regional round. As the competition is supported by FIATA (The International Association of Freight Forwarding Associations), it is adjudicated globally through its regional structures, which under FIATA nomenclature is RAME.

The winner of this round then goes through to the finals comprising the three other regional winners and the global winner is announced at the FIATA Global Congress each year.

Logan concludes: “The status attached to this competition is enormous and reflects positively on both the individual and the company for whom they work. Naturally, only freight forwarders may enter.”

In 2012, SAAFF’s entrant, Daniel Terbille, won the global competition and Logan says they have faith in Mboweni doing well in this international event. Source: Trans World Africa

WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

Click on the image to download the Infogram

It is anticipated that most Customs and Border Authorities have at least one common item on their national capacity building agenda’s for 2014 – the Agreement on Trade Facilitation. Many countries, being members of the WCO, would have already acceded to a level of commitment to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). This requires of them to introduce, at an agreed time, the principles of WCO standards and policies according to the level of their sovereign commitment.

The General Annex to the RKC is the bare minimum a country would be expected to implement in order to for it to be considered compliant with the RKC. From a trade perspective, this also indicates the extent to which your country’s leaders have committed itself towards ‘global integration’.

What the recent Trade Facilitation Agreement (ATF) in Bali does is bind member states to a compendium of requirements necessary for the enactment of certain conditions and obligations as set out in the various articles contained in the agreement. Countries should also note that certain of the ATF provisions include items under the Specific Annexes to the RKC. For a quick reference to see how the RKC and other WCO standards and conventions stack up to the ATF, refer to the WTO Trade Facilitation Toolkit by clicking the hyperlink.

In addition to this, the ATF also makes provision for ‘special and differential treatment’ in regard to developing and least developed countries (Refer to Section II to the WTO ATF).

In essence this allows those countries and opportunity of identifying their (capacity building) needs and setting themselves realistic targets for implementation and compliance to the ATF. To this end 3 Categories are identified for national states to consider in the event they are not at present in a position to accede to some or all of the ATF conditions.

The WCO has also prepared various tools which aim at assisting its members in assessing their national position in regard to the ATF. Members are likewise encouraged to regularly visit the WCO website for updates in this regard.

The following working papers are available from the WCO website and, for ease of access, are listed below together with their hyperlink to the WCO site –

Other related Trade Facilitation documentation can be found at the following link – WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations

Text of the WTO Free Trade Agreement

WCO ESA_Snapseed

Participants from all 24 members of the WCO’s Eastern and South African region attended the forum. [SARS]

Customs officials from 24 eastern and southern African countries met in Pretoria this week to share knowledge and experience with regard to the successful modernisation of Customs administrations.

Opening the three-day forum, Erich Kieck, the World Customs Organisation’s Director for Capacity Building hailed it as a record breaking event.

“This is the first forum where all 24 members of the Eastern and Southern African region (ESA) of the WCO were all in attendance,” he noted. Also attending were officials from the WCO, SACU, the African Development Bank, Finland, the East African Community and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Michael Keen in the 2003 publication “Changing Customs: Challenges and Strategies for the Reform of Customs Administrations” said – “the point of modernisation is to reduce impediments to trade – manifested in the costs of both administration incurred by government and compliance incurred by business – to the minimum consistent with the policy objectives that the customs administration is called on to implement, ensuring that the rules of the trade game are enforced with minimum further disruption”

The three-day event witnessed several case studies on Customs modernisation in the region, interspersed with robust discussion amongst members. The conference also received a keynote addressed by Mr. Xavier Carim, SA Representative to World Trade Organisation (WTO), which provided first hand insight to delegates on recent events at Bali and more specifically the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

The WCO’s Capacity Building Directorate will be publishing a compendium of case studies on Customs Modernisation in the ESA region during the course of 2014.

WCO ESA members – Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Source: SARS

On the 8th of November 2013 in Maseru, Lesotho, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) launched the first regional Customs – Trade Forum in Africa. The theme of the historical event was “Government and Business: partners for economic development through regional trade”. At the launch, the Minister of Finance and Chairperson of the SACU Council Leketekete V. Ketso and Minister of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, Sekhulumi P. Ntsoaole addressed the attendees as well as Director Capacity Building Erich Kieck from the WCO. Both ministers mentioned the funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency as a big contributor to undertake this event.

More than 30 representatives from the private sector in the SACU region attended the forum together with the five Heads of Customs and one delegate from each Member’s private sector presented their expectations on the continuous work within the Forum framework. The first working meeting of the Forum is tentatively scheduled to be held in April 2014. The event was acknowledged also by media and representatives from Lesotho Revenue Authority would discuss its importance in papers, radio and TV.

On the previous day, the 7th of November, the Steering Committee for the SACU – WCO Customs Development Program held its ninth meeting, providing guidance to the project. All project components, Interconnectivity, Risk Management/Enforcement, Legislation and Trade Partnerships were on the agenda. Source: World Customs Organisation

wco news 2013The latest edition of WCO News reflects on the Secretary General’s thoughts on what the WCO has done, what it will be doing, and what will impact on its work in the coming months. The WCO will actively focus its energies on it’s four strategic packages concentrating on revenue, compliance and enforcement, economic competitiveness and organizational development. Together, these packages support the adoption and application of modern Customs practices and raise awareness on the vital role of Customs in international trade.

Featured articles include –

  • From borders to boundless: the digital dilemma in Customs – it discusses two questions – How does an industry traditionally focused on physical borders remake itself for digital commerce, which inherently circumvents such borders? and, Why must Customs agencies transform to address the rise in digital goods and services?
  • Intercepting next generation threats

    For those responsible for the security of our borders, transit networks, VIPs and high-profile sites, the threat posed by more creative adversaries is compounded by the increasing frustrations of passengers and visitors, when subjected to existing security checks. The article discusses a range of ingenuity which technology nowadays provides to these adversaries, and the elements of new Terahertz imaging equipment to assist border agencies in the combat thereof.

  • Beyond the Single 

    Window (SW) – In the 20-plus years since they first opened in Singapore and Sweden, SWs have remained a central focus of border clearance strategies, even though the majority of Customs administrations have not implemented them. Although design plans vary considerably, most SW systems support an electronic data exchange model which allows for (i) Single submission of data and information; (ii) Single and synchronous processing; and (iii) Single decision-making for release and clearance. This article considers 4 best practices which governments should consider when implementing Single Window programs.

The publication also includes country case study’s on Single Window featuring Nigeria and New Zealand, Sri Lanka Customs 20 years of dedication towards conservation, a feature on Argentine Customs and many other interesting articles. To access the publication – click here! Source: WCO

Reality Check

The ongoing global financial and economic crisis affects governments,  organisations and citizens in different ways. It would seem that no individual or any organisation has the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ to normalise the situation either. Today, probably most Customs and Border agencies are undergoing ‘modernisation’ or some form of restructuring. Modernisation in itself implies automation or digitization of information changing the lives of the average customs (border) official as well as the expectations and predictability of service to traders and trade intermediaries around the world. 9/11 forever changed the role of Customs and for most of governments, border regulatory authorities as well. Changes in Customs have since been focussed on alignment to policy, standards and guidelines as advocated by the WCO.

WCO Startegic PlanNational adoption of these remains the foremost critical step in establishing a country’s ability to ‘connect’ with the world. A national administration should seek inclusivity of its trading community lest its modernisation be regarded as self-serving. Simultaneously, regional economic communities also seek radical change, albeit on a regionalisation level. Pressures on national (sovereign) nations develop given high-level political commitment to regionalisation, often without taking into account their respective countries’ state of readiness. This creates a false sense of commitment which results in regional failures. Behind such regional initiatives are normally a host of sponsors, purportedly with the right experts and solutions to rectify the ‘barriers’ which prevent a national state from integrating with its neighbours and global partners. Sound familiar? If so, it wouldn’t do national representatives any harm to refresh themselves with the under mentioned WCO tools and validate this in relation to the direction which their organisation is headed. These form part of the WCO’s Customs’ in the 21st Century Agenda. It is also recommended reading for the various regional economic communities (RECs) – here I refer to the African continent – who are not always au fait or fully appraised on the ‘readiness’ landscape of the member states they represent.

The Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) is currently a matter of high priority at the World Customs Organization (WCO). Economic competitiveness starts with trade facilitation and Customs administrations undeniably play an important role in this respect. Indeed, facilitating trade is one of the WCO’s key objectives and the Organization has contributed, through its tools and instruments as well as through technical assistance, to increasing the economic competitiveness and growth of Members.

The Revenue Package (RP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in response to WCO Members’ concerns in regard to falling revenue returns in the light of the global financial crisis and declining duty rates.

Significant progress has been made since the adoption of the WCO Capacity Building Strategy in 2003. However, new and emerging key strategic drivers impact on international trade and the roles and responsibilities of Customs administrations. This requires that all our capacity building efforts remain responsive and needs-driven to ensure beneficiary Customs administrations can obtain the support they need to pursue their reform and modernization. This Organisational Development Package (ODP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) outlines the basic approach of the WCO towards organizational development. It provides a simple and accessible overview of the texts, tools and instruments that relate to this topic. It refers and offers access to these resources but does not purport to capture all knowledge and practices within this extensive area.

The Compliance and Enforcement Package (CEP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) has been developed in order to assist Members to address the high-risk areas for Customs enforcement. The Customs in the 21st Century Strategy calls on Customs administrations to implement modern working methods and techniques. In this context, Customs should be equipped with the necessary tools that allow it to effectively manage supply chain risks and enforce laws and regulations in cases of non-compliance. In discharging this mandate, the WCO, in close co-operation with Members, has created an extensive library of instruments, tools, guidance materials and operational co-ordination activities to support Customs compliance and enforcement actions. These tools new form part of the CEP.

 

Participants in the Customs Training of Trainers Programme at SARS Academy, Pretoria, South Africa

Participants in the Customs Training of Trainers Programme at SARS Academy, Pretoria, South Africa (Picture: SADC)

The SADC Customs Training of Trainers Programme 2013-2015 was initiated recently from 26-30 August 2013 on ‘Communication and Facilitation Skills’ at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Academy, Pretoria, South Africa. The objective of the training was to give the trainers the necessary skills and expertise to teach Customs officials and stakeholders in an effective and professional way.  The training was attended by forty (40) participants from 14 SADC Member States.

The SADC Customs Training of Trainers Programme 2013-2015 was approved by the Sub Committee on Customs Cooperation (SCCC) in May 2013. The main objective of the programme is to provide technical and professional support to the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade, particularly in view of the contribution of Customs Administrations to the successful implementation and consolidation of the SADC FTA. It is therefore meant to support implementation of agreed instruments and programmes under the SADC Protocol on Trade.

The programme is being in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB),the Regional Training Centres and GIZ. The first Customs technical training under this programme will be on the SADC Rules of Origin in November 2013 with the objective to establish a poll of trainers on the subject in the region. Source: SADC Secretariat

Delegates who attended the first BRICS Customs Heads of Customs Meeting [SARS]

Delegates who attended the first BRICS Customs Heads of Customs Meeting [SARS]

At a meeting hosted by the Commissioner near Bela Bela, South Africa from 7 to 8 March 2013, delegations from the Customs Administrations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) met for the first time. The BRICS Customs administrations exchanged experience and ideas in a spirit of openness so as to identify areas for cooperation so that they can most effectively and efficiently facilitate legitimate trade and combat illicit trade and Customs fraud. From 27 to 28 March, South Africa will also host the BRICS Summit in Durban, to be attended by various Ministers and the BRICS Heads of State.

Key points of discussion, focus and future cooperation –

Customs cooperation
The Heads of Customs committed themselves to consolidating and building on the cooperation that has already been established so that they can collectively curb Customs offences, safeguard the international supply chain and achieve effective enforcement of Customs legislation, while facilitating legitimate trade,both among BRICS countries and also globally.

Capacity building
As part of their cooperation to build Customs capacity in relation to human resources, technologies and procedures,the administrations would look into various practical and innovative solutions and endeavour to share their resources, knowledge and best practices with each other.

Cooperation at multilateral forums
A BRICS Customs mechanism will be established, including attachés networks based in Brussels and other strategic places, to identify issues of common interest, develop common responses and ensure regular engagement and interaction, including before important multilateral meetings.

Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance and the Exchange of Customs Information
The administrations also agreed to ensure that there is an enabling legal basis between them to support intra-BRICS Customs mutual administrative assistance and the exchange of Customs information. Such assistance and exchange will assist in combating illicit trade and protecting revenues and societies.

Facilitation of legitimate trade between BRICS countries
To further facilitate trade and reduce the Customs administrative burden on both trade and the administrations themselves, the administrations will exchange information in various areas of common interest and concern, including on the simplification of Customs procedures and the use of modern technologies and techniques.

The administrations will also work towards possible solutions for achieving mutual recognition of Customs controls and of trader management programs aligned to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) concept of the World Customs Organization (WCO), establishing Customs interconnectivity and supporting the WCO’s work on developing the Globally Networked Customs (GNC) model.

Opportunities for enforcement cooperation will also be explored, including possible joint actions, information sharing and other enforcement assistance. The use of international instruments developed by the WCO, including Conventions, Recommendations, Decisions and Declarations that support Customs trade facilitation, compliance and enforcement will be actively promoted.

Governance issues
A Governance Framework aligned to the overall BRICS commitments will be established. An annual BRICS Customs Heads meeting has been proposed whose deliberations would be informed to other BRICS forums, including in particular the Summit. Such a BRICS Customs Heads Meeting would be supported by a Customs working group under the guidance of the BRICS Heads of Customs. Source: SARS

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) commended New Zealand’s strong reputation for border management. During a recent visit by the WCO’s Secretary General, the NZ Customs Comptroller said that New Zealand takes its WCO responsibilities very seriously and works closely with the WCO to develop global standards for trade.This helps to ensure a stable trade environment for New Zealand businesses to operate in around the world.

The Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya noted that the WCO is impressed with the capacity building assistance NZ Customs has given its Pacific neighbours, and enjoyed discussing New Zealand’s valuable contribution to the WCO, with Customs and the Minister of Customs, the Hon Maurice Williamson. The Pacific is an important region for New Zealand and NZ Customs has recently worked with the Cook Islands to introduce new technology and systems to improve border security to help facilitate legitimate trade and travel.

“New Zealand has been an influential member of the WCO, and has world leading expertise, particularly with its involvement in the development of a standardised data model for trade,” said Mr Mikuriya. In recent years NZ Customs has included the development of a standardised customs data model that will be used in the Joint Border Management System (JBMS). This data model is unique as it incorporates biosecurity and food related information, and means for the first time, one data message can contain all information that border agencies require. This will streamline border processes for clients who will use the Trade Single Window when it is introduced next year. Source: NZ Customs.

You may recall earlier this year the African Development Bank and the WCO agreed to a partnership to advance the economic development of African countries by assisting Customs administrations in their reform and modernization efforts.

The AfDB’s regional infrastructure financing and the WCO’s technical Customs expertise will complement each other and improve the efficiency of our efforts to facilitate trade which includes collaboration in identifying, developing and implementing Customs capacity building initiatives by observing internationally agreed best practice and supporting Customs cooperation and regional integration in Africa.

In addition, the partnership will seek to promote a knowledge partnership, including research and knowledge sharing in areas of common interest, as well as close institutional dialogue to ensure a coherent approach and to identify comparative advantages as well as complementarities between the WCO and AfDB. Customs professionals, trans-national transporters and trade practitioners will find the featured article of some interest. It provides a synopsis of the key inhibitors for trade on the continent, and will hopefully mobilise “African expertise” in the provision of solutions and capacity building initiatives.

With the increase in the number of natural disasters, Customs administrations have been called to react more efficiently and effectively, by applying modern procedures to facilitate the rapid entry, exit and transit of disaster relief consignments, including relief personnel, needed to assist victims.

As a concrete response, in June 2011, the World Customs Organization (WCO) adopted a coherent strategy, in the form of a Resolution with a set of practical recommendations for Customs on what to do in the event of a natural disaster to speed up the clearance and release of relief consignments at borders.

Among other things, the Resolution instructs the WCO Secretariat to create a dedicated web page on the WCO public website, containing all existing instruments of relevance to natural disaster relief, including useful links to tools developed by various WCO partners involved in managing natural disaster relief operations.

The WCO Secretariat is pleased to announce that this dedicated web page on the role of Customs in natural disaster relief is now available on the WCO public website and includes a discussion forum hosted by Club de la Réforme – an online WCO think-tank to facilitate communication and exchange of experiences and best practices between WCO Members.

The Customs Community and all interested persons are invited to visit the web page:

http://www.wcoomd.org/home_pfoverviewboxes_pfoverview_naturaldisaster8b.htm