The three day 5th WCO Global AEO Conference, wrapped up successfully with recommendations from participants that were in line with the WCO’s theme for 2021, “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain”.
Organized virtually by Dubai Customs from 25 to 27 May in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the UAE Federal Customs Authority, the conference saw participation of around 100 speakers who confirmed the importance of enhanced cooperation and coordination between customs administrations, government departments and the private sector. Safe data exchange between the World Customs Organization and the world’s customs administrations is key to grow trade and sustain the resilience and agility of supply chains in post covid-19 era.
Participants confirmed the need to integrate SME’s in the Authorized Economic Operator program. The event, attended by more than 12,000 experts from 160 countries, discussed the challenges and best practices in exchanging data within the Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA’s) program, and this bolsters Dubai Customs’ initiative of building a universal platform for best practices and MRA’s.
In the event, an MRA was signed between China and Uganda, and the 6th edition of the program was announced, which will run under the theme: “Role of Customs in recovering global economy for a more sustainable supply chains”.
The Authorized Economic Operator has seen much success since its launch in 2012. AEO programs grew 115% from 45 in 2012 to 97 in 2020, with 20 more underway. Number of MRA’s grew to 87 bilateral agreements and 4 multilateral agreements, with 78 new ones underway.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group said:
“We follow the best international practices and programs in the UAE to develop trade and customs cooperation internationally and regionally, and to enhance the performance of our partners and clients. The UAE adopted the program and worked hard to build strategic partnerships that help in facilitating and securing global trade.
HH added in a speech delivered on his behalf by H.E. Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of International Trade:
“The UAE is moving steadily forward toward the achievement of the UAE Centennial 2071 vision, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and sees the UAE the best country in the world in 2071.”
Along the same line, H.E. Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, Managing Director of Dubai's World Expo 2020 bid said:
“Shifting centers of economic gravity have opened new avenues of opportunity for the new trade hubs of the 21st century. In the UAE, we are built for business; FDI grew by 44% to AED20b in 2020 despite the economic turmoil caused by covid-19. The UAE is proud to offer EXPO2020 that will bring together 200 nations and international organizations for the exchange of ideas and for tangible action and impact.”
On his part, H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade said: “The 5th WCO Global AEO Conference is a golden opportunity to enhance cooperation and coordination between different customs administrations worldwide at this time in which we face the recovery challenge. The UAE economy has shown high resilience in facing the challenge of the pandemic and taken the lead in recovering from it. UAE responded quickly to control and contain the pandemic, and turned the challenge into an opportunity to advance the national economy and gain momentum in global trade activity.
H.E. Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) said that during the 16 years since SAFE Framework standards have been established number of MRA’s has doubled 5 times from 17 to 91 MRA’s, and WCO members adopting the program grew from 45 to 97.
“The great content and ideas delivered in the conference helped enrich the discussions and opened horizons for more improvements and progress to ensure safety and recovery of the global supply chain for the post-covid era.”
Along the same line, H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs said:
“Hosting this global conference in Dubai indicates that the business world has much trust in the emirate as a leading hub for trade, and its major role in facilitating global trade. It also reflects the close and fruitful relations between Dubai Customs and the World Customs Organization.
“Challenges facing the global trade activity posed by the covid-19 crisis show the need for digitalization and smart services to ensure more streamlined trade operations. This is why the AEO is gaining more importance in the current circumstances. We have developed our customs procedures and systems using the most advanced technologies, and this has raised our clients’ happiness level to 98%. Customs transactions completed by Dubai Customs grew 80% between 2015 and 2020 to 16 million in 2020 from 8.9 million in 2015. Dubai non-oil external trade has doubled more than seven times between 2000 and 2020 to hit AED1.182 trillion in 2020 from AED143 billion in 2000.”
On his part, H.E. Ahmed Abdullah bin Lahej Al Falasi, Federal Customs Authority Director-General said:
“Hosting the AEO global conference ahead of EXPO2020, which the UAE proudly hosts as well, reflects the leading role the UAE plays in global trade. I would like to thank the World Customs Organization, PCFC, Dubai Customs and all the teams who worked hard to make this a success.
The Conference covered discussions on topics including emerging supply chain security threats; the role of technologies in promoting supply chain renewal; risk management; best practices; and partnership and capacity building activities.