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Strong political support for Customs reform in Tunisia

11 abril 2016

At the invitation of the Director General of Tunisian Customs, Mr. Adel Ben Hassen, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Tunis on 6 and 7 April 2016 to discuss Customs modernization with Customs management and meet political leaders.

He met with Customs management to discuss the Strategic Plan (2016-2020), to explore the way forward for its implementation and to identify the needs for WCO assistance.  Tunisian Customs provided a briefing on its efforts to reduce informal trade and to combat illicit trade and terrorism through a comprehensive reform programme supported by the introduction of new information technology, partnership with trade and human resource development, including  enhanced training.

Secretary General Mikuriya was received by the Prime Minister, Mr. Habit Essid, who reaffirmed his strong support for Customs reform and responded positively regarding the use of international standards, including accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention, a prominent role for Customs in the National Committee for Trade Facilitation, Time Release Study and Single Window.  He also supported greater investment in human resources. 

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Slim Chaker, agreed to strengthen the protection of Customs officers on duty, as well as international cooperation in sharing the use of information technology.  The Minister of the Public Function, Governance and the Fight against Corruption, Mr. Kamel Ayadi, expressed his interest in learning from Customs’ experience in improving integrity, and voiced his support for incorporating ethics in Customs organizational reform and the need for more training.

During a visit to the National Customs School, the Secretary General saw firsthand its investment in infrastructure, its evolution in response to the growing security role of Customs with the creation of a commando team against terrorism as well as a motorbike team and enhanced functionality of the canine team.  He also supported Tunisia’s vision to upgrade the Customs School to become an international academy, promoting knowledge-based Customs supported by ethics and professionalism.

There was widespread media coverage of the Secretary General's visit including TV and radio interviews, showing the national interest in enhancing the capacity of Customs to secure and facilitate trade and the revenue function through increased economic competitiveness and security at borders.

Photos:

  1. WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya and Prime Minister Habit Essid;

  2. Secretary General Mikuriya and Director General of Tunisian Customs Adel Ben Hassen with his staff.