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URA’s Dicksons Kateshumbwa elected Chairperson of global customs body

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The Commissioner of Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Dicksons Collins Kateshumbwa, has been elected new Chairperson of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council.

Kateshumbwa was elected during the WCO Council meeting that took place in Brussels, Belgium from 27 to 29 June 2019.

Kateshumbwa follows in the footsteps of Mr. Pravin Gordhan, the current Minister of Public Enterprises, Republic of South Africa who was the Chairperson from 2001 to 2006. The first ever from Africa.

He is tasked to steer the global customs agenda to focus on key WCO priorities and emerging areas such as implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement, Capacity building for members, comprehensive review of the harmonized system, the revised Kyoto Convention, r-Commerce, Illicit Financial Flows, Customs Performance Measurement, emerging technologies, Security, Revenue Collection Compliance among others.

As Council Chairperson, Kateshumbwa will preside over WCO’s Policy Commission that meets twice a year. He will also chair all council meetings that take place annually.

Last year Uganda was the first African country to host the WCO AEO Global Conference that attracted over 1000 delegates. Kateshumbwa remains the Commissioner Customs at URA.

Several elections took place during the meeting. Pranab Kumar Das of India was elected Director of the Compliance and Facilitation Directorate and Taeil Kang of Korea was elected Director of the Capacity Building Directorate, and both will join the Secretariat in January 2020. Additionally, Mr. Dicksons Collins Kateshumbwa, Commissioner of Uganda Customs, was elected as the next Chairperson of the Council.

Among the important tools discussed and adopted by the Council was the 2022 version of the Harmonized System. Some notable amendments are new defining Notes for new or major technologies, electronic waste (e-waste), various gases with high global warming potential, rapid diagnostic kits for Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, new fentanyl opioid derivatives, cultural articles, edible oils produced by microbes, edible insect products and minimally processed quinoa.

The Council endorsed an E-Commerce package and agreed to continue developing additional technical specifications. To further enhance Customs-Post cooperation, the Council adopted the “Joint WCO UPU Guidelines on exchange of electronic advance data between Posts and Customs.” An implementation strategy, an action plan and a capacity building mechanism aimed at ensuring the widespread adoption and implementation of the Framework of Standards were also adopted.

In addition, the Council adopted the new WCO Strategic Plan for 2019/2022 with its nine priority areas, namely coordinated border management, security and safety, the Revised Kyoto Convention, e-commerce, the Harmonized System, the Capacity Building Strategy, performance measurement, integrity, and digital Customs and data analysis.

“The annual Council Sessions were characterized by meaningful debate, aimed at bringing Members together to address common challenges,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. “Indeed, the decisions taken by the Council will enhance the leadership role of Customs in border management and contribute to building future-proof Customs administrations around the globe,” he added.

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