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  • Writer's pictureTom Mueller

World Customs Organization Tech Conference 2023, Day 1

The World Customs Organization Tech Conference 2023 in Ha Noi, Vietnam, opened on October 10th with traditional drumming, dance, music and song by performers from the host country . . . with some of the star performers being officers of Vietnam Customs themselves!

One of the central themes of the conference is building pride of service in Customs Administrations, and attracting the next generation into the profession. Well, the energy and esprit du corps evident in today’s opening ceremonies are calculated to do just that!

Next came opening speeches by Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization; Tran Luu Quang, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; and Dr. Nguyen Van Can, Director General of Viet Nam Customs.

After which I was honored to moderate Session 1, a round table entitled “The Strategy Behind Technology: Leveraging Innovative Solutions to Address Global Trade Challenges.” It featured panelists Secretary General Mikuriya, Director General Van Can, WCO Council Chair and South African Revenue Service Commissioner Edward Kieswetter, and Brightwell S Nkambule, Commissioner General of the Eswatini Revenue Service.

For the next hour, we helped kick off the conference by considering a number of the central questions explored by participants for the three days of the event. Questions like: How do we combine tech advancement with the personal and professional development of Customs officers? What are the key considerations for data governance? How can we optimize the cooperation between public and private spheres of the Customs universe? And how best to make Customs an attractive career for young candidates?

- group photo after round table.jpeg

This action-packed day continued with keynote speeches by leaders of corporate sponsors of the event, including S2, Leidos and Webb Fontaine. Three panel discussions launched a number of key conversations, which kept rolling during frequent networking breaks.

The day was rounded out by a gala dinner hosted by Viet Nam Customs, featuring cultural and culinary riches of the host country. Asian hospitality at its finest!

See here for more details of sessions and participants

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