Study visit to the WCO by a high-level Iraqi delegation focusing on dual-use chemicals

18 October 2017

The WCO Secretariat hosted a high-level delegation from Iraq, led by His Excellency Mahmood Al-Bayati, Iraqi Advisor for National Security, currently on a study visit aimed at “strengthening Iraq’s national capacities to address the threat of dual-use chemical materials for terrorism purposes.” The study visit of the Iraqi delegation to Brussels is part of the ongoing chemical security engagement between the WCO and the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya welcomed the delegation, highlighting the multifaceted challenges faced by Customs when conducting controls on various goods, including highly technical or potentially dangerous materials such as chemicals. As stressed by Dr. Mikuriya during his address to the delegation, “dialogue and exchange of this kind amongst Customs practitioners, international organizations and the private sector are crucial for the WCO in order to set global standards and provide support to Customs administrations, thus facilitating legitimate trade, and generating revenue, whilst at the same time protecting society.”

The study visit is intended to assist the Iraqi Government in drafting legislation on the control of dual-use chemicals that could be potentially used for terrorism purposes, such as the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or chemical weapons. It is also worth noting that in parallel whith improving control of dual-use chemicals, Iraqi Customs would also like to comply with broader controls on strategic goods as required by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and addressed by the WCO through its Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Programme.

The WCO briefed the delegation on international standards for securing and facilitating trade, on risk assessment and on specific WCO Security Programme tools and initiatives addressing the control of strategic goods, particularly dual-use chemicals and components used to manufacture IEDs. Discussions were also held on a WCO training and technical assistance programme that could support Iraq in its approach to controlling dual-use chemicals. 

At the end of the visit His Excellency Mahmood Al-Bayati and Mr. Ali Younes from the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UNODC both thanked the WCO for its valuable input and support for the study visit, as well as for its hospitality and faultless organization of the meeting.