10th ASEM Customs Directors General/Commissioners Meeting

21 October 2013

10th ASEM Customs Directors General/Commissioners Meeting

17 & 18 October 2013, Vienna, Austria

The WCO Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, attended the 10th ASEM Customs Directors General/Commissioners Meeting held in Vienna, Austria, on 17 and 18 October.

Directors General and Commissioners from almost 50 European Union (EU)/ASEM Members and representatives from the European Commission and the WCO came together to discuss issues of strategic interest to Customs.

The meeting was officially opened by the Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry of Finance and Director General of Austrian Customs, Mr. Hans-Georg Kramer, who spoke on the important and varied role played by Customs, emphasizing actions to protect the environment (Green Customs).

The meeting was chaired by Ms. Bettina Vogl-Lang, Deputy Director General, Austrian Ministry of Finance, and Mr. Herwig Heller, Acting Director General of the Austrian Tax and Customs Administration and Head of Anti-Fraud Measures.

Reports were made to delegates on the numerous activities conducted over the past two years since the last meeting of Customs Directors General/Commissioners. The discussions focused on trade facilitation and supply chain security, protection of society and the environment, combating infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR), an assessment of recommendations adopted at previous meetings and decisions on the orientation, priorities and organization of future ASEM Customs work.

The Secretary General updated delegates on the work currently being carried out by the WCO. He urged Members to implement the Interface Public-Members (IPM), welcoming the emphasis placed on finding synergies between IPR IT systems and committing the WCO to work towards this goal. Speaking about the WCO Strategic Plan, he emphasized the three platforms underpinning WCO activities: international cooperation, research and raising the profile of Customs. With respect to the last topic, he announced that ‘Communication’ would be the WCO’s theme for 2014. The Secretary General also picked up on the environment theme and shared information on the WCO meeting on waste management and illegal logging. Delegates were also informed about recent WCO-led operations on IPR, negotiations with the ICAO in the area of security, Globally Networked Customs (GNC), revenue collection, the WCO response to the G20 tax discussions and the outcomes of the recent PICARD Conference, underscoring the need to promote knowledge and increase the WCO’s visibility.

The activities prioritized by delegates were trade facilitation, supply chain security, Coordinated Border Management (CBM) and IPR, with the organization of Trade Information Days, IT tools for IPR (including identifying synergies between systems), product safety, waste management and dialogue with traders.

The meeting concluded with delegates expressing their appreciation for the excellent organization and the warm welcome extended to all by Austrian Customs.