WCO hosts meeting of Brussels Women in Trade Network

09 September 2016

On 8 September 2016, the World Customs Organization hosted a meeting of the Women in Trade Network, which is a growing group of women in the trade arena in the Brussels area. This network of women has been meeting over the last year, to gauge the level of interest among the trade women in the Brussels area, to build an organization and support the proactive engagement of women in topics related to global trade. This meeting included the participation of over 100 women, and included the European Union Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström.

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya welcomed the group and emphasized the interest of the WCO to promote engagement with organizations involved in global trade and also to promote gender equality in all aspects of Customs and Trade. During the event, Director of Compliance and Facilitation Ana Hinojosa shared some brief information with the group about the WCO and its mission and vision. She further shared personal experiences about how Customs work has a very symbiotic relationship with Trade work. She also said that the WCO will be putting together a work plan to explore any gender equality challenges, as they relate to Customs and the stakeholders it engages with. 

Commissioner Malmström provided a very interesting perspective of the work she has been doing, in particular as it relates to the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). She shared her strong views about the benefits of TTIP, especially with regards to the European trade values incorporated into the agreement. Specifically, she highlighted the importance of the provisions that provide protection for the environment, labour conditions, and gender equality. She urged members of the Women in Trade Network to follow the debate and the developments, and not to hesitate to take part in the discussions on these issues.

This was the first visit of Commissioner Malmström to the WCO; however, she agreed that there are great opportunities for future collaboration and continued engagement.



1. Group photo of the Women in Trade Network at the WCO Headquarters;

2.  From right to left: EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, and WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation Ana Hinojosa;

3. EU Commissioner Malmström sharing her views about the benefits of TTIP with the audience.