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WCO Europe Regional Heads of Customs Conference in Kazakhstan

20 mayo 2016

At the invitation of Mr. Stephen Quest, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, and Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the Conference of Heads of Customs of the Europe Region held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on May 19 and 20.The meeting was hosted by the Kazakh Customs Service.

Opening the meeting, Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, welcomed delegates from almost 40 Members of the Region. He outlined the transformations already under way within Kazakh Customs, and the move toward the adoption of many best practices in a variety of areas, particularly with regard to digital enhancements. He highlighted the importance of an efficient Customs service operating in compliance with international trading conditions to ensure both the security and free flow of goods crossing borders.

The Chairman of the State Revenue Committee at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Daulet Yergozhin, emphasized the importance of cooperation with the business community and the simplification and digitalization of processes.

Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the relevance of the Punta Cana Resolution, particularly in the aftermath of recent terrorist events, and the crucial role Customs plays in the fight against international terrorism.

In a wide-ranging address, the Secretary General updated delegates on many current activities including outcomes of the recent successful AEO Conference held in Mexico, progress on the security programme (API/PNR, programme Global Shield on Improvised Explosive Devices, firearms and terrorist financing) actions to counteract illicit trade in wildlife (the Buckingham Palace Declaration), Cultural Heritage and the preparation of a Police/Customs Handbook, discussions with the OECD and IMF, implementation of the trade facilitation agenda and Digital Customs.

Mr. Mikuriya invited Members to support the upcoming IT Conference and Knowledge Academy. Noting that the WCO was financially sound, the Secretary General thanked Members for their continued strong support.

Several topics were discussed during the Conference, including Customs/Tax cooperation, Digital Customs, the outcomes of the 2016 Finance and Audit Committees, implementation of the WTO TFA, activity reports from ROCBs and RILOs, recognition requests for Regional Customs Laboratories (Russia and Austria) and Dog Training Centres (Ukraine), and regional representation on WCO bodies.

The Secretary General joined with delegates in expressing his gratitude to the hosts, the Kazakh Customs Service, for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.

During his visit to Kazakhstan, Secretary General Mikuriya met with Mr. Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and Mr. Gosman Amrin, Deputy Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to discuss key Customs-related issues.

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Photos:

1) Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, during his opening address.

2) Group Photo of the participants attending the Heads of Customs Conference of the WCO Europe Region, in Astana.