World Chambers Federation

WCF and World Customs Organization to increase collaboration

  • 11 April 2008

The ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) met this week in Paris with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to explore ways to work together more systematically on facilitating international trade.

ICC and WCF have a long and successful history of public-private cooperation with WCO on trade facilitation projects, including the ATA Carnet system, which permits goods to be transported across borders temporarily exempt from customs duties. Anthony Parkes, Director of WCF, Carlos Busquets, Policy Manager for the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade and Lee Ju Song, Director of ICC Asia, met with Antoine Manga, WCO Director of Tariff and Trade Affairs and Robert Murphy, WCO Origin Sub-Directorate at the ICC Secretariat in Paris.

In their meeting, WCF and WCO agreed to collaborate on several projects, such as: developing and promoting guidelines for international trade facilitation; liberalizing the issuance of preferential Certificates of Origin; and creating international guidelines for the issuance of non-preferential Certificates of Origin.

During the meeting, the two organizations also discussed conducting joint training programmes on trade documentation and sharing information on trends in global trade in order to provide better services to the world business community.

An example of recent collaboration between the two groups includes a survey by WCO. With the help of ICC business and chamber members, the WCO survey resulted in a better appreciation of the type of information the business community would like to obtain from a database on preferential rules of origin to be developed by WCO.

Mrs Lee, who is Chair of the WCF Certificate of Origin Task Force as well as ICC’s Asia Director, has been working to educate business and chamber of commerce executives in Asia on how they can help their business communities to develop export markets by adopting international practices in customs and trade procedures and by developing closer ties with the international chamber of commerce community.

In March, at a capacity-building programme in Tokyo sponsored by the Japanese government, Mrs Lee informed participants from Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam how they could implement and expand the ATA Carnet system to facilitate temporary duty-free and tax-free imports, and join ICC’s World Chambers Federation.

The event was conducted by the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS) with support from the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI). Mrs Lee also appealed to the Japanese government to extend its capacity-building programme to include chambers from outside the region.

Participants at the event were shown how to raise the credibility and level of acceptance of Certificates of Origin, which are issued by chambers for customs clearance. They also learned how WCF promoted and protected the role of CCI through its work on international Certificate of Origin Guidelines aimed at creating a conducive environment for the delivery of these certificates.

“We are pleased that Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia are included in our future plans. We also aim to expand operation of the ATA Carnet system to India,” Mrs Lee said. “ICC looks forward to a closer working relationship with our colleagues from Japan in our common objective of broadening and strengthening international CCI networking to extend the base of the CCI network beyond Asia.”