IT is the engine for “Customs in the 21st century"

22 abril 2009

IT is the engine for “Customs in the 21st century"

Brussels, 22 April 2009

The Moroccan Minister for Economy and Finance, Mr. Salaheddine Mazouar, opened the 2009 WCO IT Conference & Exhibition at the Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakesh which runs from 22 to 24 April 2009. This year’s event is being organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in cooperation with the Moroccan Customs administration with the theme ‘Single Window: Delivering Business Advantages’.

Over 500 experts from Customs and business gathered to discuss the vital role that information technology (IT) can play in linking all parties operating at the border in the most effective manner, with a special focus on supply chain security and trade facilitation. The theme enables all border agencies, including Customs and its trade partners, to explore ways in which to enhance collaboration that will provide the ideal platform for IT to deliver real business benefits through the international trade Single Window concept. Participants will also discuss the importance of international standards as well as public-private partnerships for sustainable and manageable Customs IT environments.

In his opening remarks, the Minister said, "Customs has a key responsibility for economic development which is of critical importance during the current global financial crisis which has affected economies around the world particularly in the area of trade”. He added that, "The use of IT is crucial for facilitating trade and combating cross-border crime”. He then thanked the WCO for showing leadership in the discussions on Customs reform and for encouraging the private sector to take an active role in this issue.

The Secretary General of the WCO, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, emphasized that, “IT remains a top priority for the WCO and its 174 Members”. He added that, "Heads of Customs will discuss the role of IT as the engine for the ‘Customs in the 21st Century’ strategic template during the upcoming annual sessions of the WCO Council, the Organization’s highest decision-making body”. Mr. Mikuriya expressed his immense satisfaction with the turnout for this 8th WCO IT Conference.

Mr. Frank McCosker of Microsoft stressed in his Keynote address that, "Customs forms a crucial part of the international trade supply chain and it is an institution where the virtual and physical worlds meet”. He stressed that Customs will have to therefore manage both the increasing flow of goods as well as the increasing amount of data being exchanged globally, and this was only possible through the innovative use of IT.

The exhibition organized in parallel to the Conference has become a successful feature of all WCO IT Conferences, and this year it brings together IT solution providers with representatives of more than 60 Customs administrations.

Previous successful Conferences have taken place in Brussels (2002), Johannesburg (2003), Kuala Lumpur (2004), Istanbul (2005), Bangalore (2006), Veracruz (2007), and Seoul (2008), and the stage is set for this success story to continue in the historic city of Marrakesh.