MENA regional meeting enhances cooperation in the region

05 March 2013

At the invitation of the WCO Vice-Chair for the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) region, Director General Zohair Chorfi of Moroccan Customs, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya of the WCO participated in the meeting of Customs Directors General of the MENA region, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 2 March 2013.

The Meeting discussed capacity building and a range of issues arising out of the December 2012 WCO Policy Commission session.

The Directors General agreed to receive six-monthly reports from the Regional Office for Capacity Building as well as from the regional Attaché at the WCO Secretariat, with a view to providing their feedback on the reports in order to further advance the region's training and capacity building programmes.

They also agreed to set up a group to study regional accreditation, to establish a database of experts to expand the availability of trainers in the region, and discussed regional Members' contribution to the Arabic translation of e-learning material.

The United Arab Emirates was designated to host a regional seminar on the WCO Economic Competitiveness Package, and Members reported on their progress in acceding to and implementing the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention.

After a comprehensive debate on the review of the Harmonized System, the Meeting agreed, in principle, with the outcome of the Policy Commission's discussions on the subject.

With regard to the Strategic Plan, Directors General identified a variety of priorities for the region. In respect of the composition of the Finance Committee and the proposal for alternates for Policy Commission members, the Directors General indicated their preference for maintaining the status quo.

The participants welcomed the positive outcomes of the meeting, as well as the progress towards enhanced cooperation in the region.

They expressed their appreciation for the hospitality shown by the Director General of Saudi Customs, Saleh Al-Khaliwi, and his team.