A delegation from the Thai Excise Department led by Mr. Somchai Poolsavasdi, Director-General of the Royal Thai Excise Department, who was accompanied by Ms. Supharumpai Hantweepanich, Minister, Office of Customs Counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy in Brussels, visited the WCO on 26 May 2014. The main purpose of this visit was to exchange views on best practices for combating smuggling of tobacco products.
The Thai delegation was welcomed by WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica who, after providing background on the development of the WCO, gave a wide-ranging presentation on the WCO’s Strategic Plan and mission, in which trade facilitation, protection of society and revenue collection play a key role in ensuring Customs efficiency and effectiveness in the promotion of economic prosperity and social development.
The meeting continued with a series of technical presentations. They covered the WCO’s approach to countering illicit trade, with specific focus on the Compliance and Enforcement Package and related enforcement efforts in five high-risk areas, namely revenue, security, drugs, health and safety/intellectual property rights (IPR), and environment. The global and regional situations regarding the illicit trade in tobacco products were then presented and some best practices shared, taking Operation GRYPHON and the RILO Asia/Pacific’s Project CROCODILE as examples. The visit ended with a presentation on the WCO’s enforcement tools, including CEN, nCEN and CENcomm, and the support they offer Customs administrations in their enforcement duties.