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MENA Region discussed the way forward for Digital Customs

19 enero 2016

At the invitation of Mr. Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Customs, in his capacity as Vice-Chair of the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) Region, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya participated in the MENA Regional Meeting of Directors General, held at the Headquarters of the League of Arab States, in Cairo, Egypt on 18 January 2016.

The meeting, chaired by Bahrain, was briefed on the outcomes of the Policy Commission in Punta Cana in December 2015 and the follow-up actions.  These include: the organization of the WCO trade facilitation event during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi to convey the Communication adopted at the Policy Commission; the Mercator Programme moving from the regional workshops to focus on national assistance; the recent meeting with the Interpol Secretary General to advance Customs-Police cooperation; the planned organization of regional seminars on the WCO Security Programme to implement the Punta Cana Resolution; and the collection of self-assessment of performance measurement.

The ROCB in Abu Dhabi reported on the regional capacity building activities, and the WCO Secretariat explained its capacity building programme for the region as well as its synergy with the regional capacity building activities. The WCO Secretariat also commended the RILO in Riyadh on its renewed leadership and engagement.

The Directors General actively participated in the discussion on Digital Customs to better understand the concept and its implications for the future of Customs, including the integrity and governance aspect.  They decided to hold a regional seminar on this topic to share the best practices.

They also took decisions on the regional representation at the Policy Commission and Finance Committee for the next financial year, with the membership of those bodies remaining the same (Bahrain as Vice-Chair; Egypt and Saudi Arabia as Policy Commission Members; and Saudi Arabia as Finance Committee Member).

The participants expressed their appreciation for the hospitality of the Egyptian Customs.