Pakistan Customs keen to make progress on regional cooperation and Customs reform

19 July 2017

At the invitation of the Chairman of Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Mr. Tariq Mahmoud Pasha, World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Islamabad, Pakistan on 18 and 19 July 2017.  He was briefed on progress made on Customs reform and met with political leaders to discuss ways to strengthen the cooperation between Pakistan and the WCO .

Secretary General Mikuriya was received by the Minister of Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, and a wide range of topics were discussed during their meeting.  Dr. Mikuriya stressed the importance of Customs in border control, ensuring connectivity at borders while combating illicit trade and terrorism.  This function of securing and facilitating trade, through the appropriate deployment of Customs enforcement at borders, boosts revenue collection.  He also addressed the question of increasing Pakistan's participation and visibility in the WCO, given its interest in the Organization’s agenda of strengthening regional connectivity through transit, information sharing, and use of technology and e-commerce.  The Minister of Finance concurred with Dr. Mikuriya on the recent rise in Customs interest and the need for improved transit and trade with neighbouring countries, and to establish an effective communication channel with the WCO.

Dr. Mikuriya also met with Pakistan's Minister of Commerce, Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, and discussed a range of issues including the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, countering undervaluation, and a Single Window concept.  The Minister of Commerce agreed that strong cooperation between Customs and the Ministry of Commerce would be critical for enhancing economic development.

FBR's senior management team, led by the Minister of State and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Revenue, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, welcomed Secretary General Mikuriya to deliberations on Pakistan Customs' reform initiatives, including the Web-Based One Customs system (WeBOC). 

During a meeting at FBR Headquarters, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Revenue touched upon integrity issues.  Dr. Mikuriya acknowledged the progress made and underway by Pakistan Customs in many areas, including a Single Window, the use of API/PNR and non-intrusive inspection technology for security purposes, and a transit system.  The FBR endorsed Dr. Mikuriya's suggestion that greater engagement by Pakistan in standard setting and sharing of practices would benefit the global Customs community. 

In the margins of his official engagements, Secretary General Mikuriya also planted a tree in front of FBR Headquarters to commemorate his visit.