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Data management and illicit trafficking of cultural objects at the core of the discussion between the WCO Secretary General and Director General of French Customs

17 febrero 2022

On 16 February 2022, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, the WCO Secretary General visited the headquarters of the General Directorate of Customs and Excise (DGDDI) in Paris for a meeting with Ms. Isabelle Braun-Lemaire, the Director General of French Customs.

During the meeting, the two parties discussed the recent developments in their respective organizations, cooperation activities and other topics of mutual interest. They also examined the topics of managing and leveraging data as well as trafficking of cultural objects.

Ms. Braun-Lemaire presented the Customs strategic plan for 2022-2025, which envisages strengthening Customs in terms of two core components: borders and goods, and improving conditions to fulfill Customs missions by means of developing tools and working methods, whereby the leveraging of Customs data plays a central role.

Mr. Mikuriya took the opportunity to introduce the work carried out by the WCO Secretariat on its global data strategy, which was presented to the WCO Policy Commission in December 2021. He underlined that the Secretariat was still working on it with a view to presenting an enhanced version to its Members at the Council Session in June 2022.

The meeting continued at the Louvre museum, where an exhibition on looted archaeological objects from Libya and the Middle East, seized by Customs, was taking place. The objects are now on display in the museum to draw public attention to the scourge of this international trafficking and to raise awareness of the crucial role that Customs plays in combating it.

At the exhibition, Ms. Braun-Lemaire stated: “I would like to thank Mr. Mikuriya for his visit honouring French Customs in its role of protecting our shared cultural heritage. This exhibition at the Louvre, with its international standing, bears witness to the strategic role of Customs in combating trafficking of cultural objects and, more generally, countering organized crime on the international level. It is the day-to-day work of the 17,000 French Customs women and men and the international cooperation among Customs officers, particularly with the support of the Secretary General of the WCO, that has made it possible for these cultural goods to be seized and displayed in a museum for everyone to enjoy.”

“Raising public awareness of the threats posed by the trafficking of cultural objects from regions affected by violence, instability and conflicts is an effective way of combating this type of crime,” said Secretary General Mikuriya. “This also demonstrates the important role played by Customs in countering this illicit trade, which is often linked to other crimes, such as money laundering.”