The WCO hosts its 5th Customs Laboratory Programme

17 October 2017

The 5th Customs Laboratory Programme commenced on 16 October 2017 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, under the sponsorship of Japan (CCF/Japan).  Six experienced Customs chemists and classification officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines and Tanzania take part in the programme.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Ping Liu, Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the WCO, expressed his appreciation of the important roles performed by Customs Laboratories.  He emphasized that their role has expanded and evolved with changes in trade patterns and technical evolution.  While their traditional work in the chemical analysis of goods to determine tariff classification and the level of duties and other taxes is still vital, Customs laboratories are playing an increasingly important part in the protection of the environment and society.  Many are required to analyse a range of dangerous goods, such as ozone depleting substances, pesticides, chemical weapons, narcotics, drug precursors and other substances.  The Director also highlighted the importance of regional cooperation on Customs laboratories in sharing good practices for improving the accuracy and effectiveness of Customs laboratory analysis work.

The Programme is an initiative for supporting the establishment and modernization of Customs laboratories.  Following the one-week Workshop at the WCO, during which the participants will study WCO HS tools intended for Customs chemists, including the WCO Customs Laboratory Guide, the participants will travel to Japan for practical training for six weeks.  The WCO Regional Customs Laboratory in Japan will provide a course on chemical analysis methods that will focus on new technologies and techniques, as well as the use of sophisticated analytical equipment.  The focus of this comprehensive Programme is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs Laboratories in the participants’ administrations.

The Central Customs Laboratory of Japan is a "WCO Regional Customs Laboratory" by virtue of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by the WCO and Japan Customs during the June 2014 WCO Council Sessions. One of its many functions is conducting capacity building activities on Customs laboratory matters in the WCO Asia-Pacific Region.