New Delhi,17 Apr:The 12th World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Regional Heads of Customs Administrations Conference concluded here today. India had hosted the biennial Conference as the Regional Vice Chair of the WCO. I81 delegates from 22 Member countries of the WCO Asia Pacific Region, 10 delegates from various international and regional organizations attended the Conference. India is the current Vice Chair of the region since June 2006 for a period of 2 years.
The World Customs Organization represents 172 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively processes approximately 98% of world trade. World Customs Organization, Asia Pacific region, is an organization of 32 Member countries. This forum works towards identifying critical areas of work, and deliberate on issues and concerns of the region to institutionalize mechanisms for the benefit of regions Customs administrations.
In this important meeting, the Heads of Customs agreed on several key issues which will help all the Customs administrations in the region to become more efficient in their work.
The participation of India in the World Customs Organization and its regional activities provides great benefits to both the government and the trade. Sharing of best practices between Customs organizations has been a key method for implementing reforms in the Customs to make its functioning more efficient. These efforts have enabled Indian Customs to reduce the time taken for clearance of both import and export cargo as well as to introduce procedures that reduce the cost to the tax payers. It also enables more efficient collection of revenue by the government without compromising on security and enforcement related issues.
India has implemented many of the instruments that have been developed by the World Customs Organization. These are aimed at simplifying procedures for clearance of goods which is essential to meet the requirements of the trade today who work on the “just in time” principle. Indian industry is developing rapidly and these simplifications enable them to minimize their inventories and produce goods at more competitive rates. Trade and industry will always move to destinations that offer them the best competitive edge. Even one factor such as reduction of transaction costs related to customs procedures for import and export will play a big role in enhancing our trade. India has developed a data base for valuation of goods. This methodology has been shared with other Customs administrations and has helped many of them to combat undervaluation of goods.
India will continue to play a dynamic role at both the regional level and at the international level for improving Customs procedures in order to maximize the benefits to our trade and industry.