Agenda Item: 15

Customs / Private Sector Virtual Working Group (VWG) - VWG Meeting Outcomes

Purpose: Information

Submitted by: United States

/ First Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures Meeting
Jakarta, Indonesia
29-31 January 2013

Customs/Private Sector Virtual Working Group (VWG)

VWG Meeting Outcomes

January 28, 2013

On January 28, 2013 economies from the SCCP met to discuss the goals, methods, and next steps for implementation of the Customs/Private Sector Virtual Working Group (VWG). Below are the outcomes and recommendations from the meeting:


  • The group will commence two weeks after the conclusion of SCCP SOM I meetings.
  • The SCCP will establish an agenda item for theVWG to report out on outcomes and recommendations of the group.
  • A report,preferably via email, will be provided to ABAC on a routine basis.
  • Prior to SOM III, the VWG will send a report to the SCCP for their input and concurrence on the recommendations from the VWG on SCCP priorities and the development of the APEC Customs-Business Dialogue (ACBD)agenda.

Next Steps:

  • Send out the SCCP adopted TOR to the private sector members of the VWG to receive any input and an overall consensus of the TOR.
  • Work to finalize the list of private sector representatives for the group. Nominations from economies are still open and can be sent to Ginny Williamson at .
  • Commence initial discussions and launch the group two weeks after SOM I concludes. The initial work will include developing a work plan and identifying the private sector's choice for their co-chair.

Meeting Outcomes

  • New Zealand was nominated and designated, through consensus, as the Customs Chair of the VWG. This will be reviewed on an annual basis.
  • It was decided that the private sector would be responsible for choosing their own co-chair.
  • The United States was designated as the Secretariat, for a period of two years.
  • A steering group that would be responsible for driving the work and path forward was determined to be on a volunteer basis. Economies that expressed interest during the meeting were Canada, Australia, and the United States. Economies are still encouraged to volunteer to participate in this effort.


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP)

Virtual Working Group (VWG)

Terms of Reference

Date: January 2013

Review Date: January 2015


The changes to the trade environment over the past decade, and the resulting modernization and globalization of the international supply chain, have evoked many challenges to Customs (and trade security related government agencies or ministries) as well as to the private sector. The supply chain should be looked at as a more dynamic network, rather than just strictly from the origin and destination of a shipment.

Taking into account today’s ever-changing economic environment, the efficient execution of customs measures ultimately promotes global trade and leads to increased economic prosperity. To ensure the efficient execution of secure international trade, robust collaboration between Customs administrations and the private sector is imperative. We must acknowledge that Customs and private sector stakeholders’ respective priorities will sometimes lead to different approaches. In this respect, we must collectively remain aware of our differences through engaging and educating one another on our respective needs and challenges.

Customs, and equivalent government agencies, and the private sector have an opportunity to improve trade through increased transparency in the global market. APEC and, in particular, the SCCP should be used as a tool to enhance collaboration between the public and private sectors in reaching our mutual goals. An active Customs-Business partnership model is an important step in developing and implementing effective policies that support our mutual goals of facilitating and securing legitimate international trade, while promoting economic prosperity.

Purpose& Objectives

The mandate of the Virtual Working Group (VWG) is to enhance public-private coordination within the SCCP to jointly develop and progress SCCP priorities, including through the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan. This Action Plan was a 2012 Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) level initiative that received APEC leadership endorsement. The core objective of the group is to enhance the SCCP’s capacity to secure and facilitate the legitimate movement of trade through:

  • Enhanced cooperation between the public and private sector Customs stakeholders;
  • Increased transparency;
  • Greater understanding of the public and private sectors’ respective priorities, needs, and limitations; and
  • Strategic identification of mutual priorities for cooperation.

The core task of the VWG is to work collaboratively to:

  • Provide guidance to the SCCP on matters involving trade security and trade facilitation as integrated aspects and submit a report to SCCP members that will convey the recommendations.
  • Propose issues and facilitate the preparations for the annual APEC Customs Business Dialogue (ACBD) with the goal of moving toward a more active exchange of views between government officials and the private-sector.
  • Follow progress of SCCP’s Customs-private sector partnership activities and provide updates to the VWG work program.


The VWG is comprised of government officials from member economies that are participants in the SCCP as well as nominated private sector representatives. To develop the membership foundation, SCCP members will nominate representatives of the private sector community to participate in the VWG. The number of private sector representative(s) of the respective economies may be limited as appropriate by agreement among the SCCP members. The current list of private sector VWG participants can be found as Annex I of these Terms of Reference. The term of membership is two years, which will be reviewed and potentially renewed after this term has been served. If the membership is not renewed after the two year term then the respective economy will nominate a new representative from the private sector.

Structure and Meeting Arrangements

Two (2) co-chairs – one (1) government official and (1) member of the private sector – joined by a moderately-sized Steering Group, will be charged with guiding the work of the VWG.

The Co-Chairs and Steering Group members will be appointed by the VWG and will:

  • Convene periodically with a priority method of email and via teleconference and/or videoconference as necessary to oversee the core tasks of the VWG (as outlined above under “Purpose and Objectives”). As this group will be based primarily on virtual coordination, a meeting schedule agreed on by the VWG members will be developed on an annual basis in conjunction with the annual APEC meeting calendar. In addition, the group will meet “as needed” whenever there is agreement on this.
  • Communicate regularly, via email, Steering Group efforts/proposals to the members of the VWG[1], soliciting input/feedback, as appropriate.
  • Maintain oversight over the VWG work plan, updating as appropriate, and the ACBD preparations.
  • A designated economy will serve as the Secretariat who will be responsible for capturing and reporting the results and outcomes of the group at official SCCP meetings. This term will also be two years in length. At the conclusion of the two years the appointment will be reevaluated.

Reporting Requirements, Communications and Outreach

The work program and outcomes of the VWG work program will be shared with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). These results will be officially shared by a designated member of the workgroup to the ABAC meetings as a representative of the SCCP. A designated economy agreed upon by the VWG members will serve as the Secretariat for a two year period during which time they will capture and distribute the outcomes of the group, as appropriate, to stakeholders including the World Customs Organization, while observing the APEC Guidelines on Managing Cooperation with Non-Members.

Review Clause

The terms of the VWG will be subject to review every two (2) years, following the same cycle as the review of the SCCP Terms of Reference. The VWG should conduct the initial review of the working group terms, membership and management and submit to the SCCP for concurrence and endorsement.

[1]This will include the members of the SCCP as all members of the SCCP are invited to participate in the VWG.