2nd WCO Global Seminar on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement

09 April 2014

Over 130 representatives from over 85 Customs administrations and several international organizations attended the 2nd WCO Global Seminar on Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement (STCE) from 8-10 April 2014. The conference continued discussions begun in November 2012 during the WCO’s first STCE Seminar, raising awareness about strategic trade controls and coordinating their enforcement at borders.

The term "strategic goods", in the context of the WCO STCE work, refers to "weapons of mass destruction (WMD), conventional weapons, and related items involved in the development, production, or use of such weapons and their delivery systems". Preventing illicit trafficking and smuggling of strategic goods is not new to the Customs community, but has become a high priority in recent years, particularly following adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 ten years ago this month. With its focus on the need to develop and to maintain appropriate border, export, transit, and transshipment controls, UNSCR 1540 implementation depends on Customs.

In his welcoming address WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya said "security has been and will continue to be very high on the Customs agenda. Many high-level UN Security Council Resolutions which address security and non-proliferation are implemented at the borders by Customs and border agencies. It is in this context that our UN partners are increasingly looking at the WCO and the global Customs community to take a central role in the implementation of the border related parts of these internationally binding agreements."

Mr. Mikuriya continued by saying that "strategic trade controls enforcement is an issue for all WCO Members, and international cooperation is critical in preventing cross-border trafficking of strategic commodities and securing our nations and citizens from harm. Bringing more visibility to international supply chains through cooperation at the international level is the key for making life more difficult for trafficking networks and other criminal groups".

Facilitating international cooperation and coordination was a principal aim of the WCO in establishing its STCE Project. As part of the initiative, the WCO has organized six regional awareness-raising seminars to discuss implementation challenges and produced a comprehensive STCE Implementation Guide to assist WCO Members in developing, reviewing, and implementing their STCE processes and procedures. The WCO is currently developing a training curriculum along these lines and discussing ways to enhance operational cooperation in the future. As a follow up to the seminar, the WCO will continue to collect good practices regarding STCE and explore ways to enhance information exchange in relation to high-risk shipments.