WCO celebrates International Customs Day 2018 and invites members to share best practices

29 January 2018

The World Customs Organization (WCO) celebrated the International Customs Day on 26 January 2018 at its Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and officially launched the theme of the year: “A secure business environment for economic development.”

On this occasion, the Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya welcomed the guests and delivered a message to the Customs community, where he explained the importance and relevance for Customs to support businesses providing them an enabling, safe and sustainable environment, especially to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), for them to expand their activities, to fully seize the potential international trade offers today, and boost economic growth.  The Secretary General invited Customs administrations to share best practices to enhance the security in the business environment.

The event was supported by the Belgium Customs, represented by Mr. Kristian Vanderwaeren, General Administrator, Customs and Excise, who also addressed the guests. Demonstrations by Dog-Handlers, by Customs officers working with scan van and an exhibition of counterfeited seized goods enlightened the celebration, in a joyful atmosphere thanks to the Belgian Ministry of Finance official Music Band.

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya also participated in the celebrations organized by the General Administration of Customs and Excise of Belgium, namely the unveiling of a new Customs uniform for the Manneken-Pis, Belgium’s iconic symbol representing the spirit of the people of Brussels. He seized this opportunity to congratulate the Belgium Customs for this laudable initiative and underlined the overarching objectives of the WCO to ensure connectivity at the borders by improving economic competitiveness, protecting citizens from Health, Safety and Security threats and ensuring fair and efficient revenue collection. The Belgian Minister of Finance, Mr. Johan Van Overtveldt, underscored the importance of the work of Customs, especially in the wake of recent security threats in Belgium and commended the WCO for selecting the theme of “Security” for 2018.

This year’s theme echoes the current Customs focus on trade facilitation, created by the entry into force of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement as well as the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for the new “sustainable development goals” set in 2015 by the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives meeting at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York.