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Directors General of Customs of MENA region meet to discuss priority issues for the region

01 febrero 2018

At the invitation of Mr. Ahmed Alkhalifa, President of Bahrain Customs and WCO Vice-Chair for the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) region, the 47th Regional Meeting of Directors General of Customs was held in Cairo on 31 January 2018 with the support of the Egyptian Customs Administration.

Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya presented the current key priorities of the WCO, concentrating on trade facilitation; e-commerce; security; illicit financial flows; Customs-Tax cooperation; and performance measurement. He said that he would welcome input from the region regarding prioritization of the Organization's activities.

Delegates supported these areas of priority work, referring in particular  to the challenges posed by ever-increasing volumes of e-commerce and the need for sound performance measurement tools.

The meeting heard a report on the activities of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and endorsed the way forward regarding the ROCB's coordination role.

Delegates also emphasized the importance of extending the use of the Arabic language in the work of the WCO as a means of ensuring greater involvement of the Members of the region in the Organization's meetings and activities.

Delegates unanimously approved the proposal by Tunisia to establish a WCO Regional Training Centre in that country.

With regard to the region's representation on the limited-membership WCO working bodies for the next financial year, the following was agreed : Bahrain would continue as Vice-Chair; Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be the members of the Policy Commission; Saudi Arabia would serve on the Finance Committee; and Morocco and Tunisia would continue on the Audit Committee.

The two announced candidates for the post of Secretary General - Pilar Jurado Borrego of Spain and Kunio Mikuriya of Japan - presented their respective visions for the post.

Delegates expressed appreciation for the hospitality extended to them by the Egyptian Customs Administration, headed by Dr. Abdel Azeez Magdy, during their stay in Cairo.