The 4th Customs Laboratory Programme

12 October 2016

The 4th Customs Laboratory Programme commenced on 10 October 2016 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, under the sponsorship of Japan (CCF/Japan).  Six experienced Customs chemists from Afghanistan, Belarus, Jordan, Nepal, Nicaragua and Vietnam are taking part in the Programme.

The Programme is an initiative for supporting the establishment and modernization of Customs laboratories.  Following the one-week Workshop at the WCO, during which the participants will study WCO HS tools intended for Customs chemists, including the WCO Customs Laboratory Guide, the participants will travel to Japan for practical training for seven weeks.  The WCO Regional Customs Laboratory in Japan will provide a course on chemical analysis methods that will focus on new technologies and techniques, as well as the use of sophisticated analytical equipment.  The focus of this comprehensive Programme is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs Laboratories in the participants’ administrations.

At the opening ceremony, WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, emphasized that the work of Customs Laboratories today is crucial for Customs authorities.  Apart from their traditional role as an instrument for the determination of tariff classification, Customs laboratories are nowadays playing a greater role in safeguarding human and animal health and welfare, including drug enforcement and the fight against terrorism.  He also noted that the Action Plan of the Revenue Package III, endorsed by the WCO Council in July 2016, provides for enhancement of further regional cooperation in sharing good practices on Customs chemical analysis work as well as for proper implementation of “Test procedures”, set out in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), with a view to improving the accuracy and effectiveness of Customs laboratory analysis work.

The Central Customs Laboratory of Japan is a "WCO Regional Customs Laboratory" by virtue of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by the WCO and Japan Customs during the June 2014 WCO Council Sessions.  One of its many functions is conducting capacity building activities on Customs laboratory matters in the WCO Asia-Pacific Region.