WCO welcomes APEC Statement of the Chair

24 May 2011

WCO welcomes APEC Statement of the Chair

Brussels, 24 May 2011

Press Release

The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes the Statement of the Chair issued by APEC Ministers responsible for trade at their meeting in Montana, United States from 19-20 May 2011.

Responding to the APEC leaders’ declaration last November in Yokohama, Japan the WCO expressed its willingness to “continue to partner with APEC economies in areas of shared interest” (see WCO Press Release of 15 November 2010).

The WCO is pleased that the latest APEC Statement of the Chair continues to address a number of Customs-related initiatives, given the importance of trade and economic growth in the region.

The Statement recalled the need for APEC economies to “further develop practical risk management mechanisms to handle emergencies and natural disasters”, which was recognized in the APEC Leaders’ 2010 Yokohama Vision.

The WCO fully supports APEC’s commitment to refrain from taking WTO-inconsistent measures during and after natural disasters. A WCO resolution on the role of Customs in natural disaster relief will be considered by Directors General of Customs when they meet for their Annual Sessions in Brussels during June.

Another key aspect is the Statement’s reference to APEC placing a priority on enhancing the supply chain by reducing “the time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services throughout the region”. APEC economies were committed to achieving a 10% improvement in supply chain performance by 2015.

To achieve this goal, a number of actions will be taken by November 2011, in particular:

  • Identifying ways to simplify Customs procedures and reduce costs for traders;
  • Increasing the efficiency of the Customs clearance and release process;
  • Completing the APEC AEO Best Practices Guidelines;
  • Developing a capacity building plan to assist AEO programme developments; and
  • Developing practical guidelines for Customs to combat infringements of intellectual property rights.

“WCO and APEC initiatives are complementary,” said Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya. Both organizations share a common interest in promoting trade in recognition of its key role in fostering economic and social development,” added the Secretary General.

The WCO will continue to cooperate closely with APEC economies by engaging actively in their discussions on Customs-related work. In this regard the WCO has been promoting simplified and harmonized Customs procedures through the accession and implementation of the WCO revised Kyoto Convention and other WCO tools and instruments.

Link

Click here to read the full text of the May 2011 APEC Statement of the Chair