200 participants attend WCO annual PICARD conference

ISLAMABAD: Around 200 participants from around 65 countries, representing customs administration, academic and research communities, international and regional organizations, and private sector have participated in the World Customs Organization 12th Annual PICARD Conference held recently in Tunisia.

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization also attened the conference.

The event organized more than 40 presentations, selected from among over 80 submissions following a Call for Papers.

The presentations covered diverse topics such as data and insecurity at borders, illicit financial flows through trade misinvoicing (and its detection), use of satellite imagery for cross-border movements, trade facilitation measurement methodologies and advanced passenger information data.

This is for the first time an academic paper authored by an officer of Pakistan Customs Service was selected, after a competitive process, for presentation at the conference. Additional Collector Adeem Khan presented his paper titled ‘Extensive Margin in International Trade’ that proposed a method for measuring trade costs affecting international flow of trade.

Importantly, the presentation projected a positive image of Pakistan Customs Service by highlighting its research capacity and the ability to contribute to the WCO’s PICARD initiative.

WHO Secretary General Dr Mikuriya noted that ‘research activities and discussions on these topics, digging beyond customs traditional mandate into areas such as geospatial data, biometrics, or other innovative areas greatly support the customs community and its stakeholders in their daily work and in their decision-making processes.

Furthermore the Secretary General said that ‘the interdisciplinary approach to research and policy analysis on customs matters, international trade, and border management has become the hallmark of this annual WCO event, enriching both the discussion and participants alike.

A keynote address on a research project titled ‘Borders in Globalization’ was delivered by Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada and Editor of the Journal of Borderlands Studies, who outlined the concept of exchange of trusted information at borders as a way of decreasing border risks, a topic which resonated with all conference participants.