Secretary General meets with the Prime Minister of Lithuania

25 octubre 2013

The Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, held discussions with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Algirdas Butkevicius, on Friday 25 October in Vilnius.

Highlighting the role of Customs in facilitating international trade and economic development,
Mr. Mikuriya emphasized the importance of adopting common standards at borders, many of which have been developed by the WCO, of sharing good quality information whilst respecting data protection and of developing a transit system. He also elaborated on how Customs can ensure optimal connectivity at borders by enhancing the efficiency and resilience of the trade supply chain while embracing the needs and requirements of the private sector.

Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and, in this capacity, Prime Minister Butkevicius referred to the need for strong economic ties and for the rule of law and modern border procedures, especially the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention, in order to ensure competitiveness in the prevailing economic climate and to enhance cooperation with Eastern neighbouring countries.

The discussions focused on a number of topics including cigarette smuggling, an area where the WCO is expected to play an important role in implementing the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Topics discussed also included the pivotal role of Customs in the protection of consumers, including the WCO IPM system to fight IPR infringements and the problem of fake medicines in particular, as well as product safety and waste management.

Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary General recognized the importance of political will and support for Custom modernization, without which substantial progress would not be forthcoming.

The Secretary General expressed his appreciation for the support given to the WCO by Lithuanian Customs, thanking the Prime Minister for championing Customs and the development of a modern Customs administration.