BRUSSELS : From 3 to 6 October 2023, the WCO actively participated in the 2023 FIATA World Congress. The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), a Member of the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG), bridges Customs authorities and the freight forwarding industry. The event provided a platform for the WCO to reaffirm its longstanding partnership with FIATA and share valuable insights into Customs, logistics, and international trade practices.
The WCO-FIATA Special Session
The Congress kicked off with a Special Session on 2 October, where the WCO and FIATA highlighted their enduring collaboration.
During the session, FIATA members had the opportunity to delve into the WCO’s significant influence on business practices and national policies. The Agenda of the Special Session covered the five following areas within the WCO’s purview: i) SAFE Framework of Standards (FoS); ii) Integrity and Anti-Corruption Measures; iii) Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC); iv) Harmonized System (HS); and v) Customs Digitalization.
The WCO speakers addressed a wide spectrum of topics, delivering valuable insights to an engaged audience. Some of the key discussions included the importance of benefits for the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme, key factors of the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration, an overview of the RKC and latest updates of the review process of this Convention, the structure of the HS and its amendment process, and a detailed exploration of WCO’s digitalization initiatives, including the mapping between the FIATA Bill of Lading (FBL) and the WCO Data Model.
FIATA delegates expressed their appreciation for this enlightening session and conveyed their hopes for sustained collaboration between FIATA and the WCO.
Keynote Address by WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya
On 4 October, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO, delivered a keynote address. Dr. Mikuriya not only acknowledged FIATA’s active and constructive role within the WCO PSCG, but also commended their exceptional contributions to the WCO, including their paper titled “What does facilitation mean to the PSCG?”.
Dr. Mikuriya addressed the rapidly evolving landscape of logistics, acknowledging the profound impact of technological advancements, the growth of e-commerce, and disruptions within the supply chain. He underscored the pivotal role of logistics in mitigating emissions, reducing energy consumption, and promoting sustainability across the industry.
The Secretary General also discussed how technology can enhance transparency, accelerate processes, and improve accuracy in Customs procedures, ultimately leading to more efficient trade flows. He emphasized the criticality of international standards, such as the HS, RKC and Data Model, in achieving global interoperability and seamless cross-border trade.
The 2023 FIATA World Congress served as a platform for the WCO to strengthen its partnership with FIATA and share valuable insights into the Customs and logistics sectors. These collaborative efforts are expected to drive positive changes in international trade, fostering efficiency, sustainability, and innovation across the industry. The WCO remains committed to its mission of facilitating legitimate trade while ensuring the security and safety of global supply chains.