On 17 November 2022, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) participated in the 10th World Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) Congress held in Lima, Peru. The theme for this edition of the Congress was “Resilience in International Trade”.
The Deputy Secretary General thanked the organizers for their invitation and expressed his pleasure at having the opportunity to give a brief presentation on the WCO’s work to ensure resilience in international trade. He introduced the WCO and its main functions, focusing on standardizing Customs procedures, fostering cooperation and building capacity, aimed at helping Customs administrations bolster trade facilitation, revenue collection and protection of society.
He then specifically mentioned the SAFE Framework of Standards as a tangible example of fostering cooperation. The Framework was reviewed and refined on a regular basis, thanks to contributions from Customs and business. The Deputy Secretary General informed the Congress that 172 WCO Members had signed Letters of Intent to implement the Framework, highlighting the linkage it made between the development of safe supply chains and the creation of a trade community based on trust and mutual benefits. The resulting enhanced communication and coordination between the main stakeholders in international trade had a positive impact on the simplification of supply chains as well as on the development of facilitation schemes such as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programme. Indeed, AEO status was providing concrete benefits, such as expedited release and simplified procedures, to economic operators having proven their reliability. The continued success of this initiative was reflected through the growing implementation of Mutual Recognition Agreements/Arrangements and of national AEO schemes.
The Deputy Secretary General concluded his presentation by stating that there was always room for improvement, especially in terms of the cost-benefit balance of joining an AEO scheme. Regular reviews of the SAFE Framework of Standards provided opportunities to continue working together and delivering the best solutions to ensure the ongoing relevance and upgrading of the initiative.