On May 2-3 the WCO hosted its global conference on the future of the HS, attracting over 300 participants from customs administrations, international organisations, industry associations, trade professionals, import/export companies and academia.
The objective of the conference was to brainstorm a possible strategic review of the HS, to look at how the HS is working across its user base, to see what may need to be done to improve its functioning, and to make recommendations to the WCO policy commission on whether to proceed with a strategic review.
The conference made the following recommendations: implement a project to further examine potential areas of change for the HS which would continue the consultation process; gather further information on the current issues in relation to the use of the HS; conduct a feasibility study examining the desirability and impacts, including initial cost and benefit analysis, of the proposals resulting from the conference and the subsequent consultations; and to make subsequent recommendations to the policy commission on the progressing of viable changes, including on the most appropriate bodies and mechanism to advance these changes.
In making these recommendations, the Conference stressed the need for a transparent and inclusive approach, and for it to be done in an efficient and timely manner.
The WCO policy commission is scheduled to meet in June, at which time it will consider the results of the conference and decide upon the next steps.
Story by: Riaan de Lange