The Philippine Bureau of Customs joins the 141st / 142nd World Customs Organization (WCO) Council Meeting, along with the Customs Commissioners of the 155 WCO member countries, starting June 22, 2023 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
The Council, the highest decision-making body of the Organization, regularly conducts annual sessions to discuss various Customs issues affecting all administrations and offer timely and appropriate solutions that member countries may employ. This year is especially significant as this marks the election for the position of the Secretary General and Chairperson of the Council, where the Philippines, as member, is entitled to cast a vote.
The WCO assists Customs administrations worldwide by providing technical, logistical, and professional support to the various working bodies established by the Council. It also delivers capacity building, technical assistance, and training, and develops and maintains international Customs instruments and tools.
In preparation for the Council Meeting, the Philippine BOC attended the 24th WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (RHCA) Conference in Perth, Australia last 28-31 May 2023 where different reports containing reforms and campaigns were presented for notation of the member states to be endorsed to the WCO Council.
As the Council meeting opened today, Commissioner Rubio expressed his gratitude for the work of the WCO under the able leadership of outgoing Secretary-General Mikuriya and the Council led by Chairperson Ahmed Al Khalifa.
“The Philippine Customs is one with the WCO and its Members in devising concrete initiatives in response to Customs Administrations’ needs in terms of trade facilitation, revenue collection, protection of society, and organizational development, which are enshrined in the WCO Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2025,” Commissioner Rubio said.
The Commissioner also highlighted his Five-Point Priority Program also known as the 5-PPP, which focuses on digitizing processes, simplifying procedures and securing trade, improving revenue collection, curbing smuggling in all forms, and uplifting employee morale and development.
“When we prepared the Philippine Customs Strategic Plan, we took the WCO and the Asia/Pacific Regional Strategic Plans into account, to ensure that we are aligned with the directions of the WCO. The BOC expresses its full support to the holistic work of the WCO and looks forward to a continued collaborative relationship with its members,” the Commissioner added.
The BOC has been a contracting party to several customs conventions administered by the Council, including the Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System and International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures among others.#