WCO Secretary General highlights Customs contribution at the LLDC Ministerial Transport Conference in Turkmenistan

16 August 2022

At the invitation of the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, participated through video messages at the Ministerial Transport Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, on 15 and 16 August 2022. He stressed the importance of Customs and the contribution of the WCO in improving border procedures to support transport infrastructures and associated financing for better connectivity at borders for transit.

In his opening speech, Dr. Mikuriya explained the WCO instruments in support of trade facilitation, such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), and mentioned the importance of political support, as recently demonstrated by Turkmenistan in ratifying the RKC. He also mentioned other WCO tools such as the Transit Guidelines and the related Compendium of best practices that illustrated Members’ good practices. He expressed the WCO’s commitment to providing capacity building support to implement its standards and working with its partners, in line with the current and future international framework to support LLDCs and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In a panel session on accelerating digitalization on the second day, Dr. Mikuriya recalled the WCO’s actions in securing the supply chains to counter the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by promoting digitalization of border procedures and coordinated border management with other international organizations. These measures included the joint statements with UN-OHRLLS to address the topics of trade and transport facilitation. He went on to mention the importance of partnership with the private sector for digitalization, while keeping interoperability of IT systems and basing technology solutions on international standards.

Secretary General Mikuriya concluded that while the WCO does not make recommendations on the choice of specific technologies, it showcases the available technological solutions offered on the market and shares the experiences of Members’ use of technology.