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PTC meets, discusses and endorses several tools that will now go for Council approval

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BRUSSELS : The 239th/240th sessions of the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) took place from 25 to 27 April 2023. The Meeting brought together delegates from WCO Member administrations, international organizations and the private sector to discuss, provide guidance and endorse issues on a wide range of topics.

In his opening remarks, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, began by expressing his gratitude to delegates for their participation in the PTC. He stated that the growing number of participants demonstrates the PTC’s relevance, and its agenda addresses the concerns and interests of Members and stakeholders. The Secretary General also highlighted that the WCO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and that the PTC is one of the few Committees created directly by the Convention establishing the Customs Cooperation Council, now known as the WCO. While highlighting the role of the PTC as a relevant body in addressing various trade facilitation issues, Dr. Mikuriya remarked that the PTC has dealt with a range of trade facilitation activities to serve the WCO’s vision, “Borders divide, Customs connects”. The Secretary General further stated that a number of conventions, frameworks of standards, guidelines, compendiums, and recommendations are forged and managed through the PTC. Saying that the WCO tries to be agile and respond to global events and changing environment, the Secretary General went on to highlight a number of emerging topics that the PTC would cover in this three-day meeting including the role of Customs in fragile and conflict-affected situations, Green Customs, the role of Customs in disaster relief, etc.

Speaking about the WCO theme of the year for 2023, which is premised on “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs”, the Secretary General noted the importance of the knowledge sharing.  

During the meeting, there were extensive deliberations on numerous topics.  Regarding e-commerce, the PTC had the opportunity to hear a progress report on capacity-building activities in the area of cross-border e-commerce as well as examined and endorsed the 4th edition of the Compendium of Case Studies on E-Commerce. Further to this, the PTC also examined and endorsed the proposed revision of two annexes to the Technical Specifications to the E-Commerce FoS resulting from the 2022-2023 annual review process, namely the annexes on E-Commerce Business Models and E-Commerce Stakeholders: Roles and Responsibilities. 

Referring to data and technology as essential factors for modernization and harmonization of Customs procedures, cross-border regulatory data exchange framework and technology and innovation were other topics of discussion at the meeting. The PTC also discussed and endorsed version 4.0.0. of the WCO Data Model.

Additional discussions were held on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), Customs-Port Cooperation and the development of the new Time Release Study (TRS) online system.  The PTC also welcomed the participation of the Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) and engaged in a dialogue that has begun to discuss future areas of collaboration.

The final day of the meeting witnessed the re-election of David Saville of the United Kingdom and Ririn Septiani of Indonesia as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the PTC, respectively, for the financial year 2023-2024.

During his closing remarks, the Director of Compliance and Facilitation, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, congratulated delegates for the successful completion of the meeting and thanked Members and private sector entities who shared their national experiences with the PTC through their presentations adding that their contributions are instructive and beneficial to the PTC. He also congratulated the re-elected Chair and the Vice-Chair and assured them of the Secretariat’s continued support.

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