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WCO asks Arab Trade Ministers for greater involvement of Customs in the WTO negotiations on trade facilitation

01 December 2005

WCO asks Arab Trade Ministers for Greater Involvement of Customs in the WTO Negotiations on Trade Facilitation

 Brussels, 1 December 2005

 WCO Deputy Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, participated in the Arab Ministerial meeting in preparation for the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference that was held in the headquarters of the UN ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for West Asia) in Beirut (Lebanon) from 30 November - 1 December 2005. Mr Mikuriya briefed trade ministers of the Arab region on the way in which Customs and the WCO could maximize their contribution to the WTO trade facilitation negotiating process.

In his speech, the Deputy Secretary General said that the involvement of Customs and other border agencies in formulating national positions was essential to maximize the benefits of negotiations. He also emphasized the need to mobilize the expertise of international organizations to effectively provide technical assistance and support for capacity building in a coordinated manner. He advised that the WCO and other international organizations will assist countries in developing a realistic plan for improving border procedures based on accurately identified needs and the ownership approach. He stressed that this would facilitate the link between the needs of developing countries and possible funding resources.

While in Beirut, Mr Mikuriya also visited the Lebanese Customs administration. He used this opportunity to hold discussions with the President and members of the Higher Council of Customs, namely, Akram Chdid and Jean Halabi on the implementation of the Framework of Standards, other WCO standards, and the enhancement of the regional approach to capacity building.