WCO Secretary General addresses the 43rd Annual Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC)

04 June 2021

At the invitation of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) Secretariat, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at the opening of the 43rd Annual Conference of CCLEC held on 2 and 3 June 2021.

The Chairperson of CCLEC, Mr. Herby Nelson, welcomed delegates and opened the Conference. He stressed the importance of this event during these challenging times for the region and for the world in general, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his keynote address, Secretary General Mikuriya described the WCO Secretariat’s work relating to Small Island Economies (SIEs), including the WCO’s 2018 statement on the importance of rising to the challenges facing SIEs. Dr. Mikuriya informed delegates that the Guidance for Customs Administrations of SIEs had been developed with involvement by relevant international and regional bodies, including CCLEC. He added that he had visited several SIEs to offer them support over recent years.

Dr. Mikuriya underscored the importance of facilitation and control in the cruise ships domain, as these vessels brought in large numbers of tourists to boost the economies of SIEs. Regarding the WCO Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group, he informed the Conference that in December 2020 the WCO Council had agreed to establish this Group and that it was expected to develop a global data standard for cruise ships together with a Compendium of Best Practices in the Cruise Ship Environment.

Turning to the Conference agenda, he pointed out that it contained several topical items linked to the current pandemic situation, while recalling that the WCO’s theme for this year, “Customs Bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a Sustainable Supply Chain”, addressed the urgent need to facilitate and secure the vaccine supply chain in line with the WCO Council Resolution on this matter.

Secretary General Mikuriya also highlighted the importance of risk management during a pandemic by referring to recent WCO activities relating to operations and the development of documents, such as Operation STOP, the Guidelines on Disaster Management and Supply Chain Continuity, and Customs Risk Management during a Pandemic.

During the Conference, WCO officials gave presentations on Customs Risk Management during a Pandemic and on the WCO BACUDA Project.