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Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam welcomes participants to the 2023 WCO Technology Conference

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HANOI : The 2023 WCO Technology Conference and Exhibition has kicked-off in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Under the theme “Embracing the Digital Age: Leveraging Technology, Fostering Innovation, and Nurturing the Next Generation of Customs Professionals”, this flagship event gathers more than 1,200 registered participants from 95 countries. Concurrent to the conference, the Exhibition showcases 48 booths, providing an opportunity for the participants to receive detailed information about some of the latest technological solutions available on the market. The General Department of Viet Nam Customs has taken the mantle to host the event, with collaborative efforts from various private sector partners, including the Conference corporate sponsor, S2 Global.

The conference was inaugurated with insightful speeches from Tran Luu Quang, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; Nguyen Van Can, Director General of Viet Nam Customs; and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization. The esteemed speakers underscored the key role of Customs in ensuring resilience and supply chain continuity and highlighted the key role of technology in supporting Customs administrations around the globe to perform the core functions of facilitating legitimate trade, protecting the society from various threats and ensuring fair and efficient revenue collection. They further elaborated on the need to embrace innovation, through a Customs-Business partnership, with the ultimate objective of enhancing connectivity at borders..

Following the official opening ceremony, a high-level round table themed The Strategy behind Technology: Leveraging Innovative Solutions to Address Global Trade Challenges” set the scene for the three-day Conference. This session saw the participation of the WCO Secretary General and the Director General of Viet Nam Customs, alongside Edward Kieswetter, WCO Council Chairperson and Brightwell S. Nkambule, Commissioner General of the Eswatini Revenue Service. They shared their strategic insights into leveraging technology and data-driven approaches to tackle global trade’s evolving challenges.

The first day of the conference benefited from a series of keynote speeches and three expert-led panel discussions. These sessions tackled pressing topics such as cybersecurity, disaster recovery, and business continuity in the Digital Age. They also showcased globally recognized best practices and discussed the transformative potential of data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and blockchain in redefining Customs operations.

The next two days of the conference will provide further insights into the latest innovations in detection technology, showcase best practices in Customs-to-Customs exchange of data, and look into the benefits offered by Single Window solutions. A dedicated session will examine the implications for Customs of the growing volumes of cross-border e-commerce shipments and will showcase how Customs administrations can enhance cooperation with e-commerce stakeholders and leverage on data and technology to further support safe, secure and sustainable e-commerce.

In the afternoon of Day 2, participants can opt for breakout sessions that delve into contemporary challenges and innovative solutions in diverse areas like highly specialized Customs training, integrity, gender equality, and Green Customs. Some sessions will also address emerging areas such as federated learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and deployment of IoT solutions by Customs, cutting-edge detection technology and various solutions enhancing risk management.

Day 3 will be devoted to the young generation, envisioning the future of the Customs profession. Collaboration between the government, industry and academia will be spotlighted, as well as the efforts of start-ups to develop solutions for Customs, trade and logistics. The final panel will explore how the global Customs community is keeping pace with the changing technological landscape, how the use of data and technology can help attract and retain talent in Customs and what the job of a Customs officer would look like in the next couple of decades.

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