Third WCO Technology and Innovation Forum connects Customs, technology providers and trade stakeholders

09 March 2012

Brussels, 9 March 2012

Press Release

Around 300 delegates from more than 80 countries attended the Third WCO Technology and Innovation Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 5 to 9 March 2012 which was organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in cooperation with Royal Malaysian Customs, and focused on engaging all relevant stakeholders in discussions on the efficient use of technology at the border.

Besides a growing number of delegates, 17 companies showcased their solutions to participants both during breakout sessions and as part of the parallel Technology Exhibition. The Forum week also saw a regional Non-Intrusive Inspection Equipment Workshop on Image Analysis for the WCO Asia/Pacific region that was attended by an additional 33 delegates.

The Forum was opened by the Second Minister of Finance of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Ahmad Husni Mohamed. In his opening speech, the Minister reiterated that the function of Customs had evolved from its traditional role as a revenue collector to a critical facilitator in the legitimate and secured global trading system. He also mentioned that a number of Customs administrations and other border agencies have adopted modern technologies, methodologies and practices to ensure better border management practices and controls to support freer flow of goods.

Topics covered by this year’s Forum included integrating business processes through technologies, Customs-Business partnership in technology development, overview of technology related capacity building projects, company presentations on products in the market place, future innovation for better border management, and technology case studies on technology solutions in responding to both future opportunities and challenges.

The Director General of Royal Malaysian Customs, Dato’ Sri Mohamed Khalid bin Yusuf, stressed that the Malaysian Prime Minister had declared 2012 as the Year of Innovation Movement. As such, this year’s WCO Technology and Innovation Forum was very timely, and supported and complemented Malaysia’s national policy and programmes by promoting innovation as a way of life and generating value in products and services. He further stressed that as a revenue and enforcement agency involved in border management, Customs is facing many challenges in the 21st century. It can no longer work and function using traditional approaches but must adapt to a changing environment by leveraging technology and innovation to improve the achievement of objectives that will allow Customs to stay relevant.

“Customs has been fighting smuggling and illicit trade from ancient times,” said Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya. “Innovative solutions, in the form of modern inspection technologies in the hands of skilled and knowledgeable frontline Customs officers, promote more effective and efficient Customs controls, and aid trade facilitation and anti-smuggling efforts. The use of modern technologies allows Customs to remain responsive and agile in relation to ever-changing developments in the international cross-border operating environment. The Technology and Innovation Forum provides a valuable platform for Customs, technology providers and the trade community to come together and discuss common challenges.”

Secretary General Mikuriya also thanked Royal Malaysian Customs for its initiative and efforts to organize the Technology and Innovation Forum in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur. In addition, he thanked all the sponsors for their contribution and underlined that the Forum was indeed another great manifestation of Customs-Business cooperation. This Third WCO Technology and Innovation follows the success of the first two that were held in Brussels, Belgium and Cairo, Egypt respectively.

The outcomes of the Third Forum, including presentations given during the event, will be posted on the Events section of the WCO website in due course.