On 13 April 2020, the Chairperson of the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) submitted a paper to the WCO Secretary General outlining some observations, priorities and principles to be considered by the WCO and its Members during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These observations and recommendations are divided in four categories, namely (i) expediting the clearance of essential goods and key workers to support and maintain vital services; (ii) applying the “social distancing” principles to border processes; (iii) striving for efficiencies and simplification in all clearance procedures; and (iv) supporting business resumption and recovery.
“I greatly appreciate the useful contribution from the PSCG that merits serious consideration by Customs and other border agencies. In these challenging times, it is critical that we work even harder together in the spirit of Customs-Business partnership”, said the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya.
The PSCG was established 15 years ago with the objective of informing and advising the WCO Secretary General, the Policy Commission and WCO Members on Customs and international trade matters from the private sector perspective.
Over the past month, the PSCG, who represents a wide range of businesses and industry associations, have been holding virtual weekly meetings, with the WCO Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Council Chairperson in attendance. These meetings enable the Members of the group to provide status updates relevant to their respective industries, discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international trade and the global economy, and table for discussion proposals for a course of action by the global Customs community.
In the paper, the PSCG commends the WCO for reminding the global Customs community to apply internationally agreed procedures and processes to facilitate the cross-border movement of goods, conveyances and crew. The Group also points out that the crisis has shed light on the sound work carried out by the WCO over recent years and has demonstrated the benefits and value of efficient Customs reform and modernization efforts, which the Organization has long been advocating.
The PSCG paper will contribute to the agendas of the relevant WCO working bodies in the months to come.