WCO organizes a Regional Workshop on combating cross-border smuggling of goods for the MENA region

26 mayo 2016

At the invitation of Mr. Adel Ben Hassen, Director General of Tunisian Customs, WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica attended the opening ceremony of the Regional Workshop on combating cross-border smuggling of goods, held in Tunis on 23 May 2016.

The Workshop was organized by the WCO with financial support from the Chinese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF/China), and attended by some 10 Customs administrations from the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) region, as well as several international organizations and other Tunisian governmental agencies with competence for combating contraband.

The Regional Workshop was organized under the theme “To collectively seek solutions for combating cross-border smuggling in a more effective and efficient way”, and is being developed over a full week, including a study visit to the border crossing point between Tunisia and Algeria to observe the most frequent smuggling routes.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Slim Chaker, Minister of Finance of Tunisia, highlighted the importance of working together to put an end to smuggling, which not only damages the economy but also fosters informal trade and even terrorism. In this context, the Minister underlined the importance of strengthening Customs, explaining the new five-year strategic plan approved by the Government for the modernization of Tunisian Customs.

In his speech, Deputy Secretary General Mujica thanked the Tunisian Government for its warm hospitality and emphasized the importance of international cooperation to combat cross-border smuggling of goods. Mr. Mujica presented the main WCO instruments and tools available to its Members to enhance cooperation and their capacity to counter this threat. He emphasized that no-one can solve this problem alone, which is especially true in a world where transnational crime and terrorism are increasingly linked and posing a challenge to the current global governance system.

During his visit to Tunis, Mr. Mujica also held working meetings with Mr. Ben Hassen, the Director General of Tunisian Customs, to review the main projects that the Administration is working on to further enhance its reform and modernization efforts. Mr. Mujica also visited the National Customs School in Foundouk Jedid.