APEC outcomes welcomed by WCO

15 November 2010

APEC outcomes welcomed by WCO

Brussels, 15 November 2010

Press Release

The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes the APEC Leaders’ Declaration “The Yokohama Vision - Bogor and Beyond”, released on 14 November in Yokohama, Japan. The leaders reiterated their support for efforts to reinforce strong, sustainable, and balanced growth of the world economy, as called for by the G20 Framework. The Declaration highlights individual and collective commitments of APEC economies to further liberalize and facilitate trade and investment.

The leaders stressed that APEC Economies remain committed to maintaining open markets and fighting protectionism. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to bring the Doha Development Agenda to a prompt and successful conclusion, and agreed to extend until 2013 a commitment to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or trade, recognizing that uncertainty still remains although the Economies are recovering from the recent economic and financial crisis. APEC Economies are further committed to achieving a ten percent improvement in supply chain performance by 2015, in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services in the APEC region.

The WCO has actively engaged in the discussions of various APEC meetings. The Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, joined the APEC Customs-Business Dialogue and Meeting of Customs Directors General/Commissioners in September 2010 (Click here  to see the WCO Report of 14 September 2010). The WCO has also participated in other APEC committees, including the Committee on Trade Investment (CTI) and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP).

The WCO has been promoting trade facilitation and supporting efforts to resist protectionism. Simplified and harmonized Customs procedures have been encouraged through the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures and other WCO tools and instruments. The WCO is therefore very pleased that this spirit is incorporated clearly in the Declaration by stating that “Customs-related procedures should be further simplified and harmonized”, as a means toward the economically-integrated community that promotes stronger and deeper regional economic integration.

The WCO further supports the APEC leaders’ decision in the Declaration to “continue to work on Authorized Economic Operator programs”. In this regard, the WCO also welcomes that the leaders endorsed the Joint Statement of the APEC Ministerial Meeting which includes eight priority actions that APEC Customs administrations should promote in cooperation with the WCO, including the development of AEO programmes, trade recovery efforts, development of the Single Window, enhancement of IPR border enforcement, coordination with other border-related agencies, and cooperation among Customs administrations.

The WCO also supports APEC’s strengthened efforts against terrorism, including countering terrorist financing, facilitating trade recovery, and enhancing cyber security.

The Declaration also addressed other important issues related to Customs, such as regulatory cooperation on non-tariff barriers, initiatives to strengthen regional and global food security, efforts to fight corruption and promote transparency, cooperation to address concerns with illegal logging and associated trade, and economic and technology capacity building activities.

“The APEC Customs-related initiatives have great relevance to WCO activities, and as the WCO is the sole global intergovernmental organization exclusively focused on Customs matters, it will continue to partner with APEC Economies in areas of shared interest,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya.

Links

2010 APEC Leaders’ Declaration http://www.apec2010.go.jp/en/docs/aelmdeclaration2010_e.pdf