Great participation and contribution of the Americas and Caribbean region in the discussions on the WCO Transit Guidelines
From 23 to 27 January 2017, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) held a joint regional Transit Workshop in La Paz (Bolivia), with the financial support of the Japanese Customs Co-operation Fund and the assistance of the National Customs of Bolivia. This Workshop was a continuation of a series of events to discuss the WCO Transit Guidelines, a new tool that will be released at the Global Transit Conference in Brussels on 10-11 July 2017. The transit regimen is key to promote the intraregional trade and the engagement in regional and global value chains.
Experts from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Bank (WB) and the International Road Transport Union (IRU), representatives of regional organizations such as the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), the General Secretariat of the Andean Community (SGCAN) and the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), and the Customs administrations of the Americas and Caribbean region took part in the Workshop. The event was supported by WCO-accredited experts from Austria and Peru.
The five-day Workshop focused on discussing the draft Transit Guidelines developed by the Secretariat with the aim of supporting WCO Members’ efforts to establish efficient and effective transit regimes. Transit experts exchanged their views on over 150 standards covering different aspects of transit operations including guarantee systems, the interoperability of systems, effective information management, electronic customs seals, border management collaboration, and the cooperation with the private sector. During the workshop the participants shared their national and regional practices, including the existing regional initiatives aimed at transit facilitation, such as TIM (International Goods in Transit) in Central America and as a pilot in between Ecuador and Colombia, and SINTIA (International Customs Transit Computerized System) in MERCOSUR countries.
As part of the Workshop, the participants visited the border post of Tambo Quemado, located at the Bolivia-Chile border, where they witnessed the full range of control operations being carried out on goods in transit, as a very important aspect considering that Bolivia is a landlocked country.
The Transit Guidelines will serve as a practical instrument for the implementation of special provisions on freedom of transit set out in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, the UN Vienna Program of Action and the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention. In the framework of collaboration with WCO, and in the benefit of Spanish speaking countries in Latin America, the IDB will translate the final version of the Transit Guidelines into Spanish, which will be presented to the international community at the Global Transit Conference in July 2017 in Brussels.