WCO and EU agree to explore further opportunities for cooperation

11 May 2010

WCO and EU meet to discuss issues of mutual interest

Brussels, 11 May 2010


On 11 May 2010, WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, met EU Commissioner, Algirdas Šemeta, who assumed his current post in February 2010, to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The important role of Customs in supply chain security was emphasised, and the development of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards and risk management as a means to enable Customs to implement controls while ensuring the free flow of legitimate trade highlighted their important role in world trade. The role of Customs in the protection of society was also a critical one and as Customs leads the fight against criminal activity in the area of IPR infringements, the Commissioner sought WCO assistance to raise the level of awareness of best practice in this important area.

It was agreed that the need for donor co-ordination in the delivery of capacity building was essential and that an integrated approach was the most likely to guarantee sustainability. The EU supported the ten building blocks contained in the WCO Customs in the 21st Century strategic policy, noting that Globally Networked Customs was a long term project with achievable interim goals on the way to achieving the final objective.

Both parties urged that resources to Customs in this time of economic crisis should not be reduced as Customs was a revenue generating organization. On the other hand it was essential that Customs implemented controls with due diligence and did not contribute to, or become an instrument of, creeping protectionism. The Revenue Package promoted by the WCO would ensure a balanced approach in this regard.

It was agreed that synergy between the WCO and the EU was important and that the excellent cooperation which existed should continue with active participation by the EU in WCO affairs. Both Mr Mikuriya and Mr Šemeta agreed to explore further opportunities for cooperation and meetings.