The OECS Commission in collaboration with the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre (SRC) and the Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning (CPDLL), officially launched the Senior Customs Manager Course on Customs Trade Policy and Administration on March 8, 2022. Funded by the OECS-ACP TradeComII Programme, the course runs from March 8-25, 2022. Eighteen (18) professionals across six (6) OECS Protocol Member States were awarded scholarships to participate in this course.
Providing opening remarks at the launch, Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS, said the OECS Commission is committed to supporting the process of facilitating trade within the region. He said,
“The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement seeks to reduce bureaucratic delays and “red tape” which pose a burden for moving goods across borders for traders. All of the OECS Member States have signed onto this agreement and are fully committed to implementing this agreement. The reforms which the agreement encompasses are important to take us to the next level of customs efficiency. The deliverance of this course has further reinforced the OECS Commission’s commitment towards our pursuit of achieving this goal.”
Sharing similar sentiments, Ambassador Wayne Mc Cook, the Assistant Secretary General of the Single Market & External Trade, highlighted the important role of Customs Officers and by extension, this course. He stated,
“Customs Officers are a critically important group of Trade Professionals with a significant contribution to make in our regional integration effort their contribution, your contribution, must go beyond the day-to-day implementation of customs rules and best practices to encompass sound technical guidance to the COTED Ministers in advancing regional customs and trade policy.”
This virtual training program was developed against the background of the role regional customs administrations play as frontline players in revenue collection and security functions in Member States. Customs officials will review trade and customs policy mandates with a view to strengthening harmonization of trade-related processes and procedures.
This capacity-building initiative is one of the seven (7) short courses that the OECS Commission in collaboration with the SRC will be offering over the upcoming months. Trade and legal practitioners in the OECS previously benefited from short courses on Competition Law and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).