WCO support for Portuguese-speaking countries

05 November 2019

At the invitation of Mr. Albino Gomes, Director General of Guinea-Bissau Customs, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya participated in the 34th Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) Customs Directors General Council meeting, held in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau on 4 November 2019.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Geraldo Joao Martins, Guinea-Bissau’s Minister of Economy and Finance, welcomed delegates and expressed his support for Customs reform.  Explaining the concept of SMART Borders, Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the importance of the cooperation that exists between the WCO and the CPLP.  He explained that Portuguese-speaking countries around the world are bound by strong ties, based on their culture, history and commercial relationships, and that these ties are being strengthened by border procedures based on WCO global standards.  He stressed the need for a comprehensive capacity building approach to CPLP Customs, welcoming the CPLP Customs Strategic Plan that offers a common vision and way forward for the Community as a whole.

The meeting of Directors General reviewed the Strategic Plan finalized in November 2018, together with accompanying business cases that have been developed to channel assistance from development partners.  Dr. Mikuriya welcomed the work already done and pledged his support in reaching out to the development community.  Delegates were also given an opportunity to visit the Port of Bissau and Guinea-Bissau’s Customs Headquarters, so as to gain an insight into the country’s ongoing Customs modernization processes.