Official launch of Mirsal 2 by Dubai Customs

29 March 2010

Official launch of Mirsal 2 by Dubai Customs

Dubai, 24 March 2010

Statement by Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Director General of Dubai Customs, Mr. Ahmed Butti Ahmed
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to be able to address you on this very special occasion as you gather to celebrate the launch of Mirsal 2, Dubai Customs’ modern IT solution.

Using technology to enhance customs operations and ensure more effective border management is essential to enable customs administrations to cope with the stresses and strains of the international trade environment in the 21st century.

Today, it is recognised that clearance processes by customs and other agencies are among the most crucial links in the global supply chain. High costs and administrative difficulties associated with outdated and excessively bureaucratic border clearance processes are now cited as more important barriers to trade than tariffs. Inefficient border processing systems, procedures, and infrastructure result in high transaction costs, and long delays in the clearance of imports, exports, and transit goods.

As countries around the world nurture their economies in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, it is now even more necessary for them to do all they can to encourage trade flows and inward investment through increased trade facilitation in particular; recognized by global players, including the G20, as one of the main drivers behind a sustainable economic recovery. But just as the crisis has coloured world thinking, it is also colouring the way customs does its business both now and in the future.

Smart border management in cooperation with all trade stakeholders is now an imperative to meet the demands of global trade. So the implementation of modern customs IT solutions should always play a central role in any customs reform and modernization programme along with re-engineered processes and procedures. At the same time, ensuring that border management is coordinated among the variety of government agencies involved in controlling cross border movements is critical.

Several WCO instruments, tools, and initiatives significantly enhance border management. The latest version of the WCO Data Model – Version 3 – that was released in December 2009 is an example of a solution developed by the WCO to assist customs administrations, especially as information and documentation are key elements in the control of international cross-border trade. In today’s interconnected electronic environment these controls increasingly include advance transmission of data to customs as well as customs-to-customs information exchange in order to provide the necessary level of security as well as acceptable release times for goods.

Version 3 of the Data Model has also taken on board the dynamics of single window systems that are being implemented across the globe, as these systems provide a coordinated means for governments to interact with the international trade and transport industries for all border regulatory data requirements. It has kept pace with these developments and now incorporates wider business and information needs. Basically, the Model provides standard and harmonized sets of data and electronic messages to be submitted by business to government in order to accomplish formalities for the arrival, departure, transit and clearance of goods, people, conveyances and transport equipment.

In fact, the WCO revised Kyoto Convention on the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures requires customs administrations to request as little data as necessary to ensure compliance with customs laws and that concept too is intrinsic to the Data Model. The Model enables various customs information systems, as well as those of its trading partners and other border agencies to work together in the most effective way possible. It is also a key element of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade.

Dubai has undertaken an ambitious reform and modernization programme and has underpinned its efforts by developing its instruments and mechanisms to comply with international standards to ensure that the country is firmly placed within the framework of global security and facilitation best practices. Mirsal II will allow Dubai Customs to continue to take advantage of international trading and investment opportunities, in addition to ensuring that it retains its status as a forward-thinking administration and a valuable regional partner.

As more and more customs administrations implement modern IT systems and solutions, the WCO’s vision of a “globally networked customs” becomes more tangible.

Let me use this opportunity to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who has continued to support the endeavours of the Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, in particular those of Dubai Customs.

To Mr. Ahmed Butti Ahmed and his staff at Dubai Customs, your collective achievement is recognized and appreciated by all.

I wish you a very happy launch celebration.

Thank you for your attention.