Secretary General Addresses ASEAN Ambassadors

11 February 2014

At the invitation of the Ambassador of Thailand, Mr. Nopadol Gunavibool, WCO Secretary General Mr. Kunio Mikuriya addressed a luncheon meeting of ASEAN Ambassadors on 7 February in Brussels, and spoke about how the WCO could contribute to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 by leveraging WCO tools, programmes and expertise. In particular, the Secretary General referred to Advance Rulings, Co-ordinated Border Management, Single Window, Origin and Customs/Business Partnership. The WCO has a wide range of tools, instruments and best practices to ensure smooth and successful implementation of these initiatives.

The Secretary General also updated Ambassadors on the post-Bali developments regarding the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF). He highlighted the necessity for a harmonized approach. The WTO recognized that the WCO has developed a unique portfolio of instruments and tools which, if implemented, would adequately meet the requirements of the ATF and ensure its smooth implementation. Both parties agreed on the need to promote the WCO in this domain, and the development of an Orientation Package highlighting the role of the WCO was promulgated.

During the luncheon, the Secretary General answered questions pertaining to a wide variety of WCO activities. He welcomed the fact that some ASEAN members have Customs Attachés based in their Embassies in Brussels. He urged others to follow this example, and in the meantime to delegate responsibility for WCO issues to another official in their Embassy.

The Secretary General and the ASEAN Ambassadors expressed their appreciation to the Thai Ambassador for providing the opportunity to discuss these important issues.