India becomes the APAC head of World Customs body

India has become the vice-chair of the Asia Pacific region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) for a period of two years, from July 2018 to June 2020

July 15, 2018

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) represents around 182 customs administrations across the globe that process about 98 per cent of current total world trade

Brussels-based WCO has divided its membership into six regions. Each of the six regions is represented by a regionally elected vice-chairperson to the WCO council

Being the vice-chair of the APAC region of WCO will enable India to take on a leadership role; The nation has a wealth of experience in promoting cross border trade

To mark the occasion, an event was organised on July 16th in New Delhi by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

India has become the vice-chair (regional head) of the Asia Pacific (APAC) Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) for a period of two years, from July, 2018 to June, 2020. Brussels-based WCO has divided its membership into six regions. Each of the six regions is represented by a regionally elected vice-chairperson to the WCO council. The WCO established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations. The body represents around 182 customs administrations across the globe that process about 98 per cent of world trade. As the global centre of customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with capacity in customs matters.

To mark the occasion, an event was organised on July 16th in New Delhi by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The event was attended by the customs delegations of 33 countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, customs officers from different ports in India, partner government agencies and representatives. The underlying theme of the inaugural ceremony was “Customs – Fostering Trade Facilitation”. The event was followed by a seminar on Cross Border Trade through e-commerce and the role of customs administration. The talk at the session focused on the framework of standards spearheaded by the WCO to cope with the growth in e-commerce shipments and parcels deliveries that cross borders every day.

Recognizing that e-commerce has become a game changer in the international trade arena, bringing in efficiency of clearance and delivery of low value and high volume shipments has become a matter of critical interest for every customs administration. India taking up the vice-chair role follows a nearly 10 per cent growth in exports of goods during financial year 2017-18 with a combined valuation of US$302.8 billion. The cumulative value of exports—which includes both goods and services—amounted to US$494.98 billion during the year, registering a growth of 12.75 per cent over the previous year. India’s merchandise exports during the year crossed the US$300-billion mark after a gap of two years – hinting towards a recovery in global trade and commerce activities.