Enhancing co-operation between Customs in the Indian Ocean region

06 November 2013

At the invitation of the Directorate General of Customs and Indirect Taxes of France, the first Seminar for Indian Ocean Customs was held in Saint-Denis, Réunion on 22 and 23 October 2013 with the Customs Administrations of France, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles and Madagascar in attendance. The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) were represented at this event.

The Seminar, which was chaired by the Director General of French Customs, Ms. Hélène CROCQUEVIEILLE, afforded the WCO an opportunity to present the Organization’s missions and strategic activities as well as future co-operation programmes between the WCO and Indian Ocean countries.

A special feature of the Seminar was a visit to Réunion Laboratory, which carries out work on site for Customs and the enforcement service and which is looking into establishing
co-operation with Indian Ocean countries.

Three (3) workshops were then held on the following topics:

  • Consumer protection, especially in the area of combating counterfeiting and
    co-operation with Réunion Laboratory;
  • Vocational training: Mr. James LENAGHAN, Director of Customs, Mauritius Revenue Authority, delivered a presentation on the new multilingual (English, French and Portuguese) Regional Training Centre (RTC) which is officially due to open in November 2013;
  • Foreign trade statistics: The IOC raised the issue of statistical discrepancies noted in the trade domain. The Seminar participants decided to set up a joint committee in order to address this issue and suggest suitable solutions.

Finally, as regards enhancing co-operation between the countries of the Indian Ocean region, a Declaration known as the "Declaration of Saint-Denis, Réunion" was signed by all the delegations apart from Mauritius Customs, which promised to do so following consultation with the competent national authorities.