WCO Welcomes G20 Leaders’ Communiqué

24 November 2014

The G20 Leaders, after their Summit in Brisbane, Australia, issued a communiqué on 16 November 2014.

The Communiqué emphasized "trade" as a powerful driver for economic growth, job creation and increased living standards, noting the importance of global supply chains linking developed and developing countries in manufacturing and trading in products. The Communiqué highlighted the importance of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement with its focus on trade facilitation as a core component of any economic growth strategy to include "reforms to facilitate trade by lowering costs, streamlining customs procedures, reducing regulatory burdens and strengthening trade-enable services".

The Leaders agreed to refocus their efforts against cross-border tax evasion and avoidance in order to ensure "the fairness of international tax system and to secure countries’ revenue bases", reconfirming the agreed timelines for automatic exchange of tax information between jurisdictions.

The Leaders also endorsed the 2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which mentioned Customs as a high risk sector that could potentially impede economic growth, trade, and development.

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya welcomed the G20 Leaders’ Communiqué, noting that the economic growth strategies elaborated in it are wholly compatible with the WCO’s strategic plan, instruments and tools. He underlined the importance of several WCO initiatives, including the Economic Competitiveness Package, the Mercator Programme, and the Revenue Package, which support trade facilitation and thus economic competitiveness, and also enable Customs administrations to collect revenue in a fair and efficient manner.

Mr. Mikuriya said that Customs administrations are an important actor in the fight against cross-border tax evasion, including by leveraging exchange of information (EOI) between tax authorities and Customs administration in parallel with EOI between tax authorities.

The WCO has long been a vocal leader on promoting Integrity by all public and private sector actors at the border. Mr. Mikuriya noted the innumerable efforts made by the WCO and its Member Customs administrations to mitigate corruption through instruments and tools such as the Revised Arusha Declaration and performance measurement contracts. He emphasized the importance of streamlining Customs processes and providing automated clearance environments for all international trade stakeholders.

He welcomed continued efforts to modernize trade processes, and encouraged all stakeholders to continue supporting the WCO in its work to improve the Customs environment for the ultimate benefit of all stakeholders and as a key driver of economic growth.

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