IAPH attended WCO Permanent Technical Committee

The Permanent Technical Committee of the World Customs Organization (WCO) met in Brussels last week. The Committee discusses and shares information on international standards and best practices for customs procedures and is particularly focused on trade facilitation-related activities. The agenda featured the possible revision of the Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port Authorities, which IAPH and WCO jointly published last October. IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven attended the Committee meeting and expressed the view that a comprehensive revision was premature as the guidelines had only been published recently. He argued that the focus in the next two years should be on dissemination and implementation, gathering experience from both customs and port authorities. Referring to a proposal of the World Shipping Council to extend the scope to shipping lines, Patrick Verhoeven underlined that the guidelines were issued to foster cooperation between authorities, and that this should remain the focus, at least until the initial implementation period is completed. As an interim step, it was suggested to produce an addendum to the guidelines, highlighting a case study of cooperation between container shipping lines, customs and port authorities.