The Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) in collaboration with the Vanuatu Department of Customs & Inland Revenue (DCIR) organized a Regional PACER Plus Transparency Provision Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu from the 22-24 July, 2019.
The workshop was opened by Mr. Harold Tarosa, DCIR. In his opening remarks, he emphasized that transparency and predictability of regulations and procedures at borders are essential element of trade facilitation and we need to ensure that stakeholders have access to the information. Ms Elena Procuta of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT) encouraged members to utilize PACER Plus Readiness Package to enhance their customs processes to ensure readiness when the Agreement comes into force.
The three-day workshop was attended by 36 participants from the 10 PACER Plus Parties (Cooks Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) partner Agencies, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Melanesian Spearhead Group and United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD).
The Workshop participants were apprised of the WTO TFA transparency provisions, relevant RKC standards and the related PACER Plus provisions including the legislative process for effective implementation. The PACER Plus transparency provisions obligated members to make rules and regulations accessible to relevant stakeholders, to ensure that the relevant information is published promptly in accessible matter and to establish Enquiry Points to answer questions and provide documentation.
New Zealand Customs provided their experience on implementation of transparency provisions and Vanuatu on their experience with National Trade Portal which provides single-place access to step-by-step import and export procedures that are available. The National Trade Portal(s) for PACER Plus signatories was developed by UNCTAD under the PACER Plus Readiness Package to enable Parties to publish trade procedures and legislations.
PIFS presented on the enabling environment and sustainability of TFA initiatives including the e-portals, from a regional perspective and its experience assisting Pacific Island Countries develop National Trade Policy Frameworks. The presentation emphasized the need for: institutionalization, continued modernization, and mainstreaming of trade transparency across national plans; spreading the costs through regionalism; blending multi-donor and domestic resources; and behavior change regarding information exchange.
The participants during the Workshop reviewed their national situation with respect to transparency provisions, identified support that is required and potential way forward in implementation. The Workshop enhances participants’ knowledge of relevant transparency provision in the TFA, RKC and PACER and provided the platform to learn from each other’s practices, discuss national challenges and explore solutions at the regional and national levels in achieving shared objectives of PACER Plus.
The Workshop was funded under the PACER Plus Readiness Package.