Asean Ambassadors meet with the WCO Secretary General

30 January 2019

On 28 January 2019, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya met with the Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Brussels Committee of Ambassadors at WCO Headquarters.  The Meeting was organized at the initiative of His Excellency Dato’ Hasnudin Hamzah, Ambassador of Malaysia to Belgium, with the objective of discussing emerging priorities for Customs, as well as exploring mechanisms to further enhance cooperation between the WCO and ASEAN Member States. The Ambassadors of all ten ASEAN Members were present.

Ambassador Dato’ Hasnudin Hamzah outlined the importance attached to WCO activities, particularly as regards trade facilitation and the harmonization of Customs procedures.  He highlighted the priority currently assigned by ASEAN to the facilitation of e-commerce, and the digital economy more broadly.  He indicated that the theme of Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN for 2019 is “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.

Secretary General Mikuriya presented the WCO’s main areas of work and he elaborated on the Organization’s theme for 2019 : “SMART Borders for Seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”.  He highlighted the importance of automation and the use of technologies to address emerging challenges, and he stressed the importance of implementing WCO tools and instruments. 

During the discussions, participants addressed issues related to e-commerce, exchange of information, data protection, Single Window, transit procedures, intangible goods and capacity building.

All participants reiterated their countries’ willingness to maintain close cooperation with the WCO. Secretary General Mikuriya concluded by reiterating the WCO’s continued commitment to assist with the enhancement of Customs’ capacity in the ASEAN region in order to support the region’s economic development objectives.