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OCO Conference and Customs Legislation Project

The PILON Secretariat attended the 14th Annual Oceania Customs Organisation Conference in Pago Pago, American Samoa in early May, 2012.  The theme of the conference was “Borders Divide, Customs Connect”. 
In addition to representatives of 18 OCO member administrations in attendance, regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP), Pacific Immigration Directors Conference (PIDC), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) were also represented as meeting observers.

Presentations canvassed a range of technical, trade and revenue management, and law enforcement and border security issues. A presentation was provided on behalf of PILON as part of an agenda item entitled “Importance of Regional Cooperation in Law Enforcement and Border Security”. The PICP, PIDC and PIFS Law Enforcement Unit also presented as part of this session.

The Conference adopted the OCO 10 year strategic plan.  It was noted that “Update of Customs Legislation” in all member administrations is identified in the OCO Strategic Plan as a Key Priority Area and Development Goal. As well as drafting of legislation, the work proposed in this regard includes training regarding the implementation of legal frameworks.
An update was also provided regarding the OCO’s EU-funded project focusing on development of internationally compliant customs legislation in PACP countries (the “Trade Facilitation in Customs Cooperation (TFCC)” project).

As members may be aware, the legislative review and reform component of the TFCC project will initially start with three countries in the first year: the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Tuvalu. OCO recruited a legislative drafter under the project in February 2012. Legislative reviews have been conducted in each of the 3 countries. The drafter will now work with Attorney Generals’ offices and customs administrations domestically to commence the drafting process.  A press release regarding this work in Palau is available here.