WCO Welcomes G20 Leaders’ Communiqué

06 September 2016

The G20 Leaders, after their Summit in Hangzhou, China, issued a Communiqué on 5 September 2016.

The G20 Communiqué emphasized trade as a powerful mechanism for economic growth, which is a value that the World Customs Organization also shares.  In emphasizing openness, the G20 stated that it will work hard to build an open world economy, reject protectionism, promote global trade and investment, including through further strengthening of the multilateral trading system, and ensure broad-based opportunities through public support for expanded growth in a globalized economy.

The Members of the G20 reiterated their commitment to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by the end of 2016 and called on other WTO members to do the same.  The WCO has long been taking the lead on TFA implementation, especially through the WCO Mercator Programme, in providing capacity building, technical assistance, and training to support Customs administrations in implementing the TFA.

The WCO also notes the G20’s support for the concept of “Digital Trade” which closely links to “Digital Customs,” which is the WCO’s theme for 2016.  Digital Customs refers to any automated or electronic activity that contributes to the effectiveness, efficiency, and coordination of Customs activities, such as automated Customs clearance systems, the Single Window concept, electronic exchange of information, websites to communicate information and promote transparency, and the use of smart phones.

The G20 Communiqué also referenced the issue of illicit trade and the importance of addressing cross-border financial flows derived from illicit activities.  Paragraph 36 of the Communiqué invites the WCO to participate in the preparation of a study report in this regard.

“As the global expert on Customs matters, including countering illicit trade, the WCO is ready and able to work with the G20 on the development of a study on cross-border financial flows coming from illicit trade,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya.