Rensselaer Professor Appointed Special Legal Counsel to the World Customs Organization (WCO)
HARTFORD, CONN – Rensselaer Professor William J. Luddy, Jr., was appointed Special Legal Counsel to the World Customs Organization on May 14th by Michel Danet, the WCO Secretary General. The 173 country-member WCO is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. In making this appointment, the Secretary General of the WCO noted that Professor Luddy's “…research and work in the areas of IT, electronic commerce, global trade facilitation, and the intersection of technology and law are internationally recognized and highly regarded.”
Professor Luddy will work on a new initiative that involves a joint WCO and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) effort focused on the international legal framework for enhanced trade facilitation related to the rapid global development of the “Single Window” for international trade. The concept of the “Single Window” is to provide companies engaged in international trade a one-time submission of all necessary documents to government authorities for the export and import of goods that meet those requirements rather than having to make many different document submissions to a variety of agencies. Professor Luddy noted that, “The Single Window enables much more efficient and effective processing for cross-border transactions resulting in substantial cost savings for both companies engaged at all levels of global supply chain networks and for governments.”
This work is being undertaken by a joint WCO-UNCITRAL Legal Working Group that is expected to prepare a policy level guidance document that will help establish the future international legal framework that will support legislators, governments, and the private sector in the digital trade era. Mr. Danet noted that WCO member governments from nearly every continent have joined the Working Group and “that we anticipate involvement from numerous international organizations, such as the World Bank, and representatives from global companies in the fields of IT, manufacturing, international transport, and others. The output of the Working Group, we believe, will be of significant value to all of these stakeholders.”
Professor Luddy is also a legal advisor to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and has been participating in the meetings of its legal expert group that is developing the ASEAN Single Window for International Trade. This program is a key element of the ASEAN countries' goal of achieving regional economic integration by 2015. The 10 member-states of ASEAN represented at these meetings include: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Professor Luddy is also a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for legal matters related to development of international electronic business technologies and is an advisor on global electronic commerce matters to the U.S. Department of State's Advisory Committee on Private International Law.