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WCO Europe Region 2012 Heads of Customs Conference

16 April 2012

WCO Europe Region 2012 Heads of Customs Conference

Baku, 12-13 April 2012

Report

At the invitation of Director General Bjørn Røse of Norway Customs in his capacity as Vice-Chair for the WCO Europe Region, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya of the WCO participated in the Europe Region 2012 Heads of Customs Conference held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 12 and 13 April 2012.

The meeting was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov of Azerbaijan who talked about the 20 year history of Customs and its progress in his country, including the aspect of revenue collection. Azerbaijan and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia took the opportunity to sign a bilateral Customs cooperation agreement.

After listening to the WCO activity report presented by the Secretary General, participants discussed topical WCO issues, including its Strategic Plan, its budget and the Globally Networked Customs concept. They supported current steps taken by the WCO and provided further inputs.

There were also detailed discussions on the funding and attachment of officers to the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) in Baku. Participants also listened to an address on the WCO's 60th anniversary, the report by the three Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs) in the Europe region and a proposal by Russia on establishing a regional dog training centre. European membership of various WCO committees for June 2012 was discussed as well.

All the participants expressed their gratitude to Director General Aydin Aliyev of Azerbaijan Customs and his team for the excellent hospitality.

Secretary General Mikuriya and Josephine Feehily, Chair of the WCO Council, visited the President of Azerbaijan, H.E. Ilham Aliyev, to express their appreciation for his support for the Customs community. The President stressed the importance of Customs in border management, in the fight against illicit trade, in the security of the trade supply chain, and in building up good cooperative ties with neighbouring countries.