Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | World trade and customs officials have started discussing non-intrusive technologies needed for inspection of goods in the build-up to the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Global AEO Conference 2018 to be held in Kampala from Wednesday.
Up to 1000 delegates including World Customs Organisation officials led by Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, will converge in Kampala in the next 24 hours for the 4th World Customs Organization Authorised Economic (AEO) Operators Conference March 14-16 hosted by Uganda Revenue Authority. AEO is a trade facilitation program used by over 70 countries that promotes trade and security of international trade supply chain.
Under this arrangement, businesses which comply with customs laws and regulations benefit from customs preferential treatments such as fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection, according to Dicksons Kateshumbwa, Commissioner for Customs at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
The 3rd Meeting of the Technical Experts Group on Non-Intrusive Inspection (TEG-NII) which started at Munyonyo on Monday is one of several key meetings in the build up to the Global AEO operators conference being hosted in Africa for the first time.
The last TEG-NII meeting was held in Brussels last year, while the Global AEO conference 2017 was in Mexico.
The Non-Intrusive Inspection Systems Program (NII) provides appropriate technologies to inspect and screen conveyances or cars, trucks, railcars, sea containers, as well as personal luggage, packages, parcels, and flat mail through either x-ray or gamma-ray imaging systems.
The meeting brings together experts to discuss the various issues customs administrations around the world face in the procurement and maintenance of their NII systems, as well as in the training of operators and image analysts.
The TEG-NII was established in 2016 with the objective of promoting synergies between Customs and the Industry to develop a standard NII data format. The standard format is aimed at facilitating interoperability of different NII equipment provided by different manufacturers, at enabling the exchange of images in a unified file format within and between customs administrations for customs purposes, at facilitating the development of databases or libraries of images and at assisting the training of image analysts.
In the continued build up to the Global AEO meeting, the Private Sector Consultative Group ( PSCG) also convened Monday to deliberate on customs initiatives from the perspective of the private sector.
The conference set
Recognized as the largest WCO capacity building event, the WCO AEO Global Conference boasts the largest number of workshops held during an event, covering a variety of topics related to the security and facilitation of the global trade supply chain. The conference is organized by the WCO once every two years in partnership with a host Customs administration and provides a key platform for all players who have an interest in international trade.
The AEO programme is being implemented by most of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) member countries although implementation is at different stages. There are currently 77 AEO programmes in the world.
“Uganda has been at the forefront of championing change within the customs supply chain, making us one of 1st country’s in Africa to uptake this initiative,” said URA Corporate Affairs manager Vincent Seruma.
He cited trade facilitation initiatives like the Single Customs Territory (SCT), Single Document Processing Centre(DPC), and One stop Border Post (OSBP) that have been implemented by Uganda.
At the Global AEO Conference,ustoms administrations, the business community, government and multilateral policymakers, and legal and academic representatives, focus on the successes and challenges of customs and the private sector in implementing AEO programmes. The event is expected to enhance cooperation, while building capacity, in order to foster a global public-private dialogue. (SEE FULL PROGRAMME BELOW)
The theme this year is “Promoting Mutual Recognition of AEOs to Strengthen and Secure Global Trade.” This will be the 4th WCO region to host the event since its inception with the support from the Korea Customs Service.
The conference will help delegates understand the current international trade challenges, in the context of increased security requirements and discuss how law enforcement instruments and tools could be efficiently implemented in a manner that does not undermine the ongoing trade facilitation efforts.