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Report on the WCO Secretary General’s presentation at the Council of the European Union’s Customs Union Group

08 enero 2009

Report on the WCO Secretary General’s presentation at the Council of the European Union’s Customs Union Group

Brussels, 8 January 2009

At the invitation of the Czech Presidency, Kunio Mikuriya, the WCO Secretary General presented the Organization’s aims and vision at the Council of the European Union (EU) Working Party on Customs Union (Customs Legislation and Policy).

Mr. Mikuriya began his presentation by stressing the Organization’s priorities:

  • improved governance and greater transparency which includes increased communication with WCO Members and stepping up the latter’s participation within various committees, as well as the use of additional languages (Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish);
  • sustained and heightened efforts in the customs capacity building domain, with the need for substantial support from the European Communities (EC) and their Member States;
  • strengthening the WCO’s role as a centre of technical excellence, based on research and studies conducted in partnership with WCO Members and universities.

The Secretary General then highlighted some key topical issues, namely, security and facilitation, intellectual property rights (IPR) and Customs in the 21st Century.

Mr. Robert Verrue, Director General of the Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD) Directorate, congratulated Mr. Mikuriya on his election and welcomed him to this important Working Group with responsibility for EU Customs policy. He said that given the EC’s new status within the WCO since 2007, there was a need for more pragmatic and organic cooperation between both Organizations. Mr. Verrue concluded by stressing that the EU’s priorities were very similar to the WCO’s – Customs in the 21st Century, SAFE, capacity building and IPR.

Several delegations (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and others) then added their voices to the Commission’s congratulations and acknowledgements. Many delegates took this opportunity to highlight the need to react swiftly and appropriately to current global crises.