Finland celebrates the 200th anniversary of its National Board of Customs

16 febrero 2012

Finland celebrates the 200th anniversary of its National Board of Customs

Helsinki, 15 February 2012


At the invitation of Director General Tapani Erling of Finnish Customs, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya joined the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Finnish National Board of Customs in Helsinki on 15 February 2012. In addition to selected Customs personnel, participants included stakeholders from the private sector and government agencies, as well as Directors General of Customs from neighbouring countries, including Estonia, Russia and Sweden.

Public Administration and Local Government Minister, Henna Virkkunen, who is also responsible for Customs, delivered a congratulatory address in which she underlined the evolution of the Customs mission in Finland and its significant contribution to the national, regional and global economy as well as to society. Then, the three invited speakers, namely Secretary General Mikuriya, Director General Heinz Zourek of the European Commission’s TAXUD and Director General Andrei Belyaninov of Russian Customs delivered their congratulatory speeches from global, regional and bilateral perspectives.

The Finnish contribution to the WCO was highlighted with the Council chairmanship of Tapani Erling (2006-2008), presiding over the adoption of the "Customs in the 21st Century" document reflecting best practice and the strategic thinking of Finland and other WCO Members, as well as its capacity building assistance in the East and Southern Africa region. Secretary General Mikuriya expressed his best wishes to all Customs officers that have supported the development of Finnish Customs over the years, often in a difficult environment, and to Tapani Erling who retire soon after 13 years of service as Director General.

Earlier in the same day, the three invited speakers met Minister Virkkunen to discuss current Customs issues. She took the opportunity to award the Order of Merit of Customs to Secretary General Mikuriya, to Director General Belyaninov, and to former Director General Walter Deffaa of TAXUD (in absentia) to commemorate the excellent cooperation between Finland and its partners in Customs.