WCO Secretary General calls for Vigilance on Cross-Border Security

04 October 2013

Recent incidents of terrorism and other mass violence against civilians have shocked and saddened the global community.  Governments, international institutions such as the World Customs Organization (WCO), and other stakeholders are committed to implementing controls and safeguards to protect borders and the supply chain in order to deter misuse for illegal activity.

Along with many other agencies, Customs contributes to such efforts because it is responsible for securing and facilitating cross-border flows of goods, people, and transport through the promotion of compliance with laws and regulations embodied in Customs legislation, or in other legislation it is empowered to administer.  Customs thus must remain vigilant and strive towards full implementation of instruments, standards, and tools aimed at security, economic competitiveness, and Customs modernization.

Through the deployment of effective and efficient control measures, Customs contributes to national security (through prevention and detection of smuggling of restricted and  prohibited  goods), public health and safety (through suppression of illicit trade), national economic prosperity (through fair and efficient revenue collection), and economic development (through trade facilitation).

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya said “we are deeply saddened by the recent incidents of violence and our thoughts are with the victims and their families”. He has directed that upcoming WCO committee meetings discuss the roles of Customs administrations in countering these ongoing and emerging threats that impact national and economic security. 

The committee discussions will include reviewing the implications of the global threats especially in terms of implementation of WCO instruments such as the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and the Revised Kyoto Convention; co-operation between Customs administrations, other government agencies and trade; sharing of relevant information, including intelligence; WCO programmes such as Global Shield that targets trafficking in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement Project that targets the illicit trafficking of strategic commodities including conventional and non-conventional weapons; and capacity building assistance including support for the United Nations Resolutions 1373 (on counter-terrorism) and 1540 (proliferation of weapons of mass destruction).