WCO welcomes G8 Declaration

09 July 2009

Brussels, 9 July 2009

WCO welcomes G8 Declaration

The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes the G8 Summit Declaration on Responsible Leadership for a Sustainable Future and its overall commitment to sustaining the world economy and the global trading system, in particular references to the continued promotion of trade facilitation as a means to facilitating economic growth especially during the current global financial crisis, the importance of building the capacity of Customs administrations to tackle counterfeiting and piracy, and the support for efforts to increase domestic revenue through modernized customs regulations and improved revenue collection capacities.

Leaders of the G8 countries are meeting in L’Aquila, Italy from 8 to 10 July 2009 to address global issues and promote a world economy that is open, innovative, sustainable and fair.

In response to the G8 Declaration, WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, said, “ The WCO fully supports all international efforts aimed at sustaining the global trading system which is critical to future economic prosperity and social development”. He added, “ Both trade facilitation and the security of the trade supply chain were essential to the effective functioning of the global trading system”. He further added, “Within the framework of its mandate, the WCO is willing and ready to contribute positively to the resolution of global issues in cooperation with the G8, other international organizations, and our business partners”. In conclusion Mr. Mikuriya said, “ The WCO will heed the call of the G8 to continue monitoring international trade developments to ensure adherence to the non-protectionist approach and open and free trade principles espoused by the G20 and reinforced by the G8 in their respective Declarations”.

With respect to the global financial crisis, the WCO took a proactive stance by sending a communication to the G20 on 25 March 2009 in advance of their London summit in which the WCO recommended that: national and regional authorities should promote trade facilitation measures consistent with international customs and other border agency standards; advanced economies and international donor organizations should promote Customs modernization capacity building programmes, including the necessary infrastructure for emerging market economies and developing countries, which will promote trade and investment globally; and the WCO and other relevant international organizations should be encouraged to monitor the trends in international trade and to identify best practices in sustaining the global trading system. The WCO was pleased to note that the final G20 Communiqué echoed the spirit of its three recommendations.

Following the G20 summit, the WCO has continued to take whatever steps it can to promote and facilitate trade and investment to ensure economic growth is re-launched and that its benefits accrue to all. In this regard, it is promoting the rapid conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Round, particularly the trade facilitation negotiations, by engaging positively with the WTO and by encouraging WCO members to dialogue positively with their trade counterparts by ensuring their views are well represented in any national policy positions and where possible by ensuring that they form part of national teams involved in the Geneva negotiations. The WCO is also considering its post-Doha response which will centre on enhanced promotion of trade facilitation complemented by a supportive and well-focused Customs capacity building programme covering this important area of work.

The WCO has also been actively tackling global concerns, especially those of developing countries, relating to revenue security in the current economic downturn. In this respect it has compiled a schedule of existing prime texts, tools and instruments based on their relevance to revenue collection. This exercise is being systematically followed up by a gap analysis to identify whether any of the guidance provided to WCO members needs any further research or work. Given the dynamics of world trade, the WCO revenue package will continue to be further enhanced depending on global developments. To add further value to its work in this area, the WCO will be organizing a conference at its headquarters from 10 to 11 December 2009 where consideration will be given to a better working relationship between customs and tax including revenue authority models that many countries have selected for their customs and tax agency organizational structures.

Counterfeiting and piracy is another area which is receiving close attention at the WCO. Work in this important area has centred on promoting the protection of intellectual property rights and providing implementation assistance to WCO members to fulfill the national obligations assigned to Customs by national governments in combating counterfeiting and piracy. Building the capacity of Customs administrations is therefore an essential element of the WCO’s strategy to tackle IPR infringements. This strategy is supported by the WCO’s cooperation initiatives with relevant international organizations and the private sector.

Click here to read the full text of the G8 Declaration.