Workshop on the implementation of the Customs Laboratory in Fiji

08 September 2016

With the sponsorship of the Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund, a WCO National Workshop on the implementation of the Customs Laboratory in Fiji was held at the WCO Asia Pacific Regional Training Center in Suva, from 29 August to 2 September 2016.

At the opening of the Workshop, Mr. Visvanath Das, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), highlighted the importance of Customs Laboratories. He emphasized that, apart from their traditional work in the determination of tariff classification and the level of duties and other taxes, the role of customs laboratories has evolved over time with changes in the trade environment, such as anti-fraud operations, determining the authenticity and origin of products, detecting illegal imports such as narcotics and drug precursors, protecting consumers against dangerous goods or contaminated food, and safeguarding the environment and endangered species. He concluded by thanking the representatives from the Japan Customs Administration and the WCO Secretariat’s Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate for facilitating the high-level discussions on the implementation of the Customs Laboratory in Fiji.

During the Workshop, a wide range of topics relating to the establishment and use of Customs Laboratories for the Harmonized System classification, as well as for enforcement purposes, including identification of drugs, were addressed. Participants were also informed regarding the infrastructure and design of different sizes of Customs Laboratories in Japan, including so-called satellite Laboratories located in the main airports. Moreover, participants discussed their analysis needs and relevant areas of analytical methodology and considered the possible future actions for the implementation of the Customs Laboratory in Fiji.

The importance of exploring further regional cooperation in sharing best practices on Customs chemical analysis with a view to improving the accuracy and effectiveness of Customs laboratory analysis work by enhanced regional cooperation as cited in the Action Plan for Phase III of the Revenue Package was also explained. In this context, Dr. Tetsuya Akasaki, Supervisory Chemist of the Central Customs Laboratory of Japan (CCL) explained a recent initiative by the CCL, as the WCO Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL), for networking and information sharing among Customs chemists in the WCO Asia Pacific (A/P) region. He emphasized the importance of the respectful support of the FRCA, as a WCO A/P Vice-Chair, in enhancing further regional cooperation in this respect.

The workshop was closed by Mr. Kumar Sami Goundar, General Manager Customs and Excise, FRCA. In his closing remarks, he thanked Japan and the WCO for their contribution to the implementation of the Customs Laboratory in Fiji. He emphasized again the importance of the role carried out by Customs Laboratories in identifying goods correctly and thus helping to ensure the promotion of international trade while controlling the international movement of certain commodities.