WCO Secretary General addresses the Working Party on Customs Union under the EU Portuguese Presidency

14 January 2021

At the invitation of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya attended a meeting of the EU Working Party on Customs Union (Customs Union Group - CUG), held virtually on 13 January 2021 to present the WCO’s outlook for the year 2021.

Ms. Helena Maria José Alves Borges, the General Director of the Tax and Customs Authority of Portugal, shared her country’s priorities, which are all organized around the ambition to build a green, resilient, digital, social and global Europe focusing on an inclusive recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

After congratulating Portugal on taking over the EU Council’s Presidency, Dr. Mikuriya went on to outline the WCO’s strategic projects to envision and design the future of Customs following the pandemic. In line with the Portuguese priorities, he stressed the leading role of Customs in Coordinated Border Management and national Single Window initiatives.

Secretary General Mikuriya elaborated on the Organization’s theme for 2021: "Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a Sustainable Supply chain”. He explained that we have to aim for recovery by reinforcing collaboration, for renewal by embracing advanced technologies and for resilience by putting people at the center of change.

Mr. Gerassimos Thomas, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), outlined the main issues to be addressed by the EU in order to take the Customs Union to the next level and welcomed the fact that the WCO’s priorities were closely aligned with those of the EU.

The Secretary General concluded by thanking the Portuguese Presidency for the opportunity to address the CUG, as customary during its first meeting of the year.