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WCO presents draft Framework of Standards at consultative session in Japan

17 March 2005

Brussels, March 17, 2005 

WCO presents draft Framework of Standards 

at consultative session in Japan

Brussels, March 17, 2005.  At a consultation session that was held in Japan on 14 March 2005, the World Customs Organization presented its draft Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade to representatives of the Japanese customs administration, the Keidanren (Japanese Business Association), and other invited guests.

The Keidanren, which represents Japanese business, has been actively promoting global standards on trade and investment and recently submitted proposals on the WTO trade facilitation negotiations. Mindful of the need to develop global standards on trade security as well, the Keidanren hosted the consultation session on the WCO’s Framework of Standards. WCO Deputy Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya explained that It would be essential for the global trading community to work with customs and other border agencies to achieve the shared goal of securing and facilitating world trade”. He added that “The WCO Framework of Standards provides for an updated supply chain model incorporating the needs for enhanced security, its basis being past efforts to facilitate legitimate trade”. Mr. Mikuriya stated that “Implementation of the Framework required a phased approach for all countries but it would have to be supported by an active and sustainable capacity building program for developing countries that would benefit from the Framework as it would help their customs administrations to enhance their capabilities in revenue collection, community protection, trade facilitation, and anti-terrorism measures”. The Deputy Secretary General advised that each WCO member would be individually responsible for implementing the Framework and that the organization hoped to develop a mechanism to encourage implementation initiatives in each of its member states.

Representatives of large Japanese corporations supported the need for the WCO’s Framework of Standards and acknowledged its importance while recognizing the challenge the international community would face to ensure global implementation of these standards, including the development of the “Authorized Economic Operator” concept and mutual recognition thereof. Moreover, they maintained that it would be essential to find the right balance between the system and the required human resources, the integrity aspect, and the balance between facilitation and security. They suggested that a pilot project would be a useful tool to explore the actual application of the standards. In this connection, it was proposed that the business community could make a contribution with their know-how on supply chain management, including their compliance and self assessment programs.

With respect to the timeframe for implementing the elements contained in the Framework of Standards, the Japanese Customs explained that they had recently introduced mandatory pre-arrival manifests and the advanced passenger information system (APIS). They advised that Japan Customs would be introducing further measures to enhance security, including anti-terrorism actions.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport representatives explained their policies in the area of transport security and underlined the importance of close coordination with other government agencies, including customs.
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