Ukraine’s President supports Customs reform as a priority for his country

08 July 2021

At the invitation of the Head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, Mr. Pavlo Riabikin, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, visited the cities of Odesa and Kyiv in Ukraine from 4 to 7 July 2021. His visit included a meeting with the President of Ukraine, H.E. Volodymyr Zelensky.

Secretary General Mikuriya visited Odesa Airport and Sea Port to observe Customs in action, including risk management and cargo inspections. While in Kyiv, he went to Customs Headquarters for a meeting with the Customs management team, during which they discussed progress with ongoing Customs reform and the way forward. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Mikuriya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mr. Riabikin to launch the Global Trade Facilitation Program, funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO).

Secretary General Mikuriya then met with President Zelensky at his office to discuss Customs modernization. The President underlined the important role played by Customs in duty and revenue collection, which accounts for half the country’s fiscal revenue, as well as the need to improve Customs’ image.

Based on his trip to Odesa and the discussions with Customs management in Kyiv, Dr. Mikuriya confirmed that the country’s Customs reform was on track as regards adoption of the relevant legal framework and use of technology. He asked President Zelensky to support Customs in providing stability, both in terms of leadership and organizational arrangements. He also stressed the need to grant enforcement powers to Customs. A further recommendation to the President entailed strengthening human resource management to make Customs a more appealing employer, by offering good working conditions and prospects for career development with suitable training. Dr. Mikuriya added that improving integrity required robust support at the highest political levels, together with cooperation from the private sector.

President Zelensky welcomed and supported the Secretary General’s recommendations and expressed his appreciation for the WCO’s continuous collaboration in Customs modernization matters.

Dr. Mikuriya also gave an interview to the National News Agency of Ukraine (Ukrinform) to share his views on Customs reform and how Customs should adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.