Trinidad and Tobago re-engages with WCO

16 noviembre 2018

At the invitation of Trinidad and Tobago’s Acting Comptroller of Customs, Ms. Kathy-Ann Matthews, WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya visited Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 13 and 14 November 2018.

This visit followed discussions on the Small Island Economies initiative at last week’s WCO Permanent Technical Committee meeting, and a presentation given by Dr. Mikuriya on the same topic on 6 November at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, during a session chaired by H. E. Mr. Colin Connelly, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago.  Dr. Mikuriya’s visit to Port of Spain preceded the CARICOM Meeting of Ministers of Trade scheduled for 15 November.

Secretary General Mikuriya met with Trinidad and Tobago’s Customs management team to identify the current challenges faced by Small Island Economies, such as geographical difficulties in border management, insufficient infrastructure, focussing on revenue rather than on the multiplicity of Customs functions (protection of society, security, trade facilitation), as well as human resource challenges relating to training/capacity building, and the logistical difficulties of attending WCO meetings.  The meeting explored possible solutions and opportunities to address these challenges, including accession to the Harmonized System (HS) Convention.  Dr. Mikuriya also visited the port to view Customs operations, including the use of scanners, container examination and maritime operations.

WCO Secretary General also met with Mr. Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, and senior government officials including Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, and National Security, as well as the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit.  They all reaffirmed the important role played by Customs in facilitating and securing trade, and the need to enhance its capacity by resource allocation and a collaborative approach, with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies, to intelligence-based risk management at borders. 

Dr. Mikuriya welcomed the Government’s heightened awareness of, and support for Customs.