One panel focused on the respective roles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO) in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Mr. Gina was joined by Karolyn Salcedo, WCO Regional Development Manager for the Americas and the Caribbean and Faustin Mukela Luanga, WTO Head of Asian and Pacific Regional Desk and Senior Economist. The TFA came into effect in February 2017, after it was ratified by two-thirds of the 164 member countries. The TFA aims to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods in transit and across borders through customs. It also establishes measures for cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance, while providing for technical assistance and capacity building in these areas. While the WTO functions at a Ministerial level, sets policy, and administers legally binding rulings on trade matters, the WCO plays more of a role in on-the-ground implementation. The WCO conducts technical assistance workshops, provides global forums for knowledge-sharing, and develops best practices resources to guide countries through TFA implementation. Estimates show that the full implementation of the TFA could reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3% and boost global trade by up to $1 trillion per year, with the biggest gains in the poorest countries.
The second panel covered the evolution of BASC into its 20th year. Along with current and former BASC Presidents, Fermin Cuza and Mayra Hernandez de Cavelier, Mr. Gina discussed the evolution of customs-industry partnership programs in U.S. Customs from the 1980’s to present day and how the momentum of those programs helped launch BASC in Cartagena, Colombia. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, U.S. Customs established a Carrier Initiative Program, Super Carrier Initiative Program, and Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition, and ultimately, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program in 2001, which has over 11,000 member companies today. Like BASC, these programs have helped build security and efficiency in the supply chain by establishing greater cooperation and coordination between the trade industry and border management agencies. Numerous other customs, trade, and industry representatives from the U.S. and Latin American also attended the event.