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TIACA makes its contribution to the WCO Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia

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Vladimir Zubkov, Secretary General of TIACA and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of WCO have shared their views with a 550-strong audience from more than 80 countries during Session 1 devoted to E-COMMERCE.

TIACA members may recall that the relationship between TIACA and governments and international organizations was considered important by the responders to the survey conducted earlier this year. Customs was singled out as one of the key partners in establishing favorable working conditions for the whole air cargo supply chain. As a result, TIACA has been taking consecutive steps in strengthening its links with WCO.

Zubkov and Mikuriya along with three other panelists tackled the questions of E-Commerce which has become one of the central topics for Customs and Governments, the whole air cargo supply chain, as well as the private sector and other stakeholders. Right at the outset, it was recognized that the importance of the E-Commerce calls on Governments for devising strategies to support its tremendous growth.

The discussion started by what seems to be the basic question: “What is the definition as well as the scope of E-Commerce?” The range of questions which followed may be indicative of the main directions to which Customs officials attach greater importance

– How is the tremendous growth of E-Commerce impacting Customs and governments as a whole? What are the benefits and what are the challenges?

– What are the opportunities arising and how can Customs contribute to the E-Commerce agenda? Is trade facilitation the key priority? How can IT systems help?

– What are the opportunities arising for the developing countries and LDCs and what are the main challenges and obstacles?

– How can E-Commerce platforms support governments in performing their responsibilities both in terms of ensuring proper controls as well as in terms of ensuring improved service delivery?

– What are the ongoing discussions on E-Commerce in the WTO? What can be expected at the 11th Ministerial Conference in Argentina end of this year?

– Can current e-payment solutions respond to the requirements of all users of E-Commerce and what are the opportunities lying in that domain?

The sessions which followed in the course of two days explored such issues as SINGLE WINDOW, BIG DATA, DATA MINING AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS, DATA GOVERNANCE and BLOCKCHAIN. I should acknowledge high professionalism of the speakers, and once the presentations are available to me will share them with you.

Lessons learned and actions to be taken:

You must have noticed that the references above are all directed at the governments and the Customs. And it’s not an omission on my side – this is something which I find is indicative to the level of coordination between Customs and the rest of the air cargo supply chain. Apart from the TIACA Secretary General, only two KLM officials and one staff from IATA represented the industry at the conference. I called attention to the lack of industry representation at the concluding session, very suitably called “INTEGRATED SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT”, which I moderated, and presented it as one of the key challenges. I also talked separately about the low level of interaction with the industry to the organizers within WCO. I intend to follow-up on this in order to make sure that the next time a conference of this caliber is organized the proper representation from the supply chain is secured.