From 11-15 September 2017 the OCO delivered a National Workshop on the Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (as amended), known as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
The RKC is a World Customs Organization (WCO) legal instrument regarded by the international Customs community as a blueprint for modern Customs in the 21st Century. The accession to the RKC is an important milestone in any country’s endeavors to further promote legitimate trade and effective Customs controls. Although CNMI Customs is not a member of WCO, they have expressed keen interest in accession to and move towards compliance to the RKC.
The RKC workshop was held at the Pacific Islands Club, Saipan which involved 32 participants from the Customs, Revenue & Taxation and Quarantine Divisions of CNMI.
The core objectives of the workshop were to inform the participants of the benefits of acceding to the RKC, to improve their understanding of the RKC provisions and as well as to assist CNMI Customs to enhance their capacities to use the WCO self-assessment tools to assess the compliance of the national legislation with the provisions of the RKC.
The national regulations were found to be generally compliant with the General Annex of the RKC provisions. The Gap Analysis conducted with the participants has provided the assessment on the standards which CNMI will need to implement towards compliance.
The OCO facilitators during the week also provided presentations on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, Harmonised System and Customs Enforcement activities. This is in line with the OCO core objectives of assisting members on harmonizing and simplifying their current business processes to reduce the costs to legitimate trade and in turn contribute to economic and business competiveness in OCO member states.
The OCO facilitators provided recommendations on the actions to be undertaken towards CNMI’s accession to and compliance to the RKC, and expressed their appreciation for the excellent organizational arrangements by the hosting customs administration. The Director of CNMI Customs, Mr Jose Mafnas expressed his gratitude to the OCO for the timely assistance noting that CNMI Customs remain committed to ensuring their legislation and processes are in compliance with RKC. The Workshop was closed by the Governor of CNMI, Governor Ralph Torres who also affirmed the Government’s commitment and support to CNMI Customs towards compliance to RKC.