The 30th Global RILO Meeting (GRM)

31 Jan 2023

The 30th Global RILO Meeting (GRM) was held in a blended manner as a combination of both a document-based phase and online sessions hosted on the Zoom platform. Phase I of the meeting took place from 21 December 2022 to 11 January 2023. During the phase, participants submitted comments through the CLiKC! platform. Phase II was conducted as a hybrid meeting session on 24 and 25 January 2023. Representatives from 11 of the 12 RILOs attended the meeting.

The meeting started with opening remarks of Pranab Kumar Das, Director of Compliance and Facilitation at the WCO. He highlighted how important the roles of the Global RILO Network (GRN) have been in disseminating best practices within and beyond the regions developing data analysis in Customs, promoting the Customs Enforcement Network (CEN), enhancing the quality and quantity of data in the CEN, supporting publication of the WCO Illicit Trade Report (ITR) and so on.

 The meeting took note of the outcome of the RILO questionnaire. It identified that there had been considerable differences in the manpower and the scope of activity of each RILO such as conducting capacity building program, collecting seizure data and drawing up analytical products and stressed that it would be necessary to work together within the GRN to achieve standard levels of performance commensurate with the increasing challenges that the Network would face when supporting its members.

 As one of the agenda items, the outcome of the WCO survey named “Case studies and risk indicators to identify IPR, health and safety infringing goods related to e-commerce” was addressed. In his presentation, Maurice Adéfalou, WCO IPR, Health and Safety Programme Manager, described the IPR, Health and Safety Programme’s 2020 Strategy with four pillars which were visibility, information exchange, capacity building, and cooperation that had been developed under the observation of sophistication of counterfeiting and piracy as e-commerce grew. It led to an agreement between members on the need for the WCO to establish a compendium incorporating case studies on this topic. Also, the future plan with regard to Operation STOP III that would particularly concentrate on e-commerce was reported in the presentation. RILO AP emphasized that seizure data of Operation STOP needed to be sent to the CEN in order to utilize the data in the CEN for comprehensive data analysis.

 Amparo Estruch, Drugs Control and Crime Prevention Officer from the Secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), delivered a presentation on Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDs) Intelligence Tools: “Exchange of operational information and intelligence on modi operandi of dangerous substances” cooperation with INCB. RILO AP mentioned difficulties in seizing drugs classified into New Psychoactive Substances and welcomed the cooperation with INCB.

 The Chairperson, Roy Diaz of RILO CA, introduced the topic titled: Visibility of the RILOs on the WCO homepage in the “News and activities” section for WCO regional bodies, which was proposed by RILO WE. The meeting was actively invited to consider posting analytical products such as reports, alerts, and other materials produced by each RILO on the WCO website to increase the visibility of the crucial work carried out by RILOs for the benefit of the global customs community.

 The Chairperson informed the Meeting that the 86th Session of the WCO Policy Commission and the 139th/140th Sessions of the WCO Council had endorsed the WCO draft Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and its Implementation Plan 2022-2023. As the GRN was an official WCO working body, it would have to develop an individual Work Programme for financial year 2023-2024. In this regard, the joint Operations STOP 2023 and DEMETER IX were included in the Work Pragramme as activities carried out under a specific timeframe. On the other hand, as the ongoing activities, several items were listed as follows: implementation of the WCO Charter for Data Quantity and Quality Enhancement in the CEN, taskforces on Data Analysis and Data Collection including development of a new ITR concept, training of RILOs and NCPs on CEN data visualization, global customs enforcement project on tobacco product smuggling and its promotion among NCPs, project on the Vehicle Concealment Library (CAVA) and its promotion among NCPs and analytical Project SHOT on alcohol smuggling and its promotion among NCPs.

 RILOs delivered a presentation on their progress reports. Particularly, RILO AP’s presentation covered staff composition, statistics associated with publication of analytical products and the CEN database, international cooperative activities including joint operations and projects, and work plan for 2023. Also RILO AP gave a presentation about the outcome of Operation DEMETER VIII with the view of dismantling the illicit trade of hazardous waste and environmentally harmful substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol. 

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