New Delhi, Apr 14: India will host the 12th World Customs Organization's regional heads of customs administrations conference here today.
Around 100 delegates comprising heads of customs administrations and observers will attend the conference from Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa. P. C Jha, Chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs and the World Customs Organization (WCO), Vice Chair, will lead India in the discussion in the four-day conference. The conference will provide a platform to members to identify critical areas that require special attention, develop shared understanding and deliberate on issues and concerns of the region and to discuss the possibility of institutionalizing mechanisms for the overall benefit of the region.
India took over from China as the WCO vice chair of the Asia Pacific Region in June 2006 for a period of two years and has continued the excellent work done by the previous vice chairs.
The Asia Pacific Region is known for enhanced levels of cooperation and coordination, which make it one of the more vibrant and proactive regions of the WCO.
The conference of heads of administrations of customs of Asia Pacific Region will consider the work done in critical areas for the customs of the region and will adopt a new three year regional strategic plan for implementing the various programmes under key focus areas.
The WCO, established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), is an independent inter-governmental body with the mission to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations.
Today, the WCO represents 172 customs administrations across the globe that collectively processes approximately 98 per cent of world trade.
As the global centre of customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in customs matters.
Geographically, the members have been divided into following six regions, each of whom elect a vice chair to head the region for a period of two years - East and Southern Africa; Europe; Far East, South and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands; North of Africa, Near and Middle East; South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean and West and Central Africa. The Indian Customs has been a member of the WCO since 1971. During its membership in this international - intergovernmental body, India has participated actively in developments in the fields of classification, valuation, customs procedures and enforcement.
WCO Asia Pacific is an organisation of 32 member countries (i.e. Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Bhutan, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rep. of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Thailand, Vietnam, Kingdom of Tonga, and Lao People's Democratic Republic).