WCO Conference on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement

14 November 2012

WCO Conference on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement

Brussels, 14-16 November 2012

Report

Over 200 participants from over 90 countries representing Customs, other government agencies, international organizations, academia and the private sector attended the WCO Conference on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement from 14-16 November 2012, aimed at raising awareness about strategic trade controls and about the risks chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials (CBRN) and dual-use goods pose if diverted for unauthorized use in international supply chains.

The term "strategic goods" refers to goods of concern to national security, regional stability and international peace and security. Strategic control is essentially about putting State authorities in control of transfers of listed strategic items and related technologies through a licensing process. Detection of CBRN material at borders by radiation portal monitors, scanners and other detectors amounts to only part of it; many controlled items are dual-use industrial and scientific equipment or material defined by specifications found in technical documents.

Controlling strategic goods and preventing illicit trafficking and smuggling is not new to the Customs community but the importance of border controls was highlighted in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) adopted in 2004, which makes it obligatory for UN Member States to develop and maintain appropriate effective border controls and to put in place an export and transshipment control system to prevent the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction and related technology to unauthorized non-state organizations or people.

"Military weapons, weapons of mass destruction and dual-use goods can create a lot of harm if they end up in wrong hands," said Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the WCO, in his welcome address. "Although there are no silver bullets that would allow Customs to prevent illicit trafficking in strategic goods, I am convinced that through hard work, dedication and commitment Customs can prevent loss of life and that this meeting will enable us to better respond to this challenge".

The Conference focused on setting the scene and providing information on international obligations and control regimes, national cooperation structures and key requirements, such as risk management, investigation practices and available technology, as well as specific challenges faced by Customs in controlling strategic and dual-use goods, particularly transit traffic, transshipments and goods in Free Trade Zones.

WCO Conference on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement