Visit by the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry

06 julio 2009

Visit by the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry

WCO Headquarters, 6 July 2009


WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya received New Zealand Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry, the Hon. David Carter, at WCO headquarters on 6 July 2009. The Minister was accompanied by H.E. Peter Kennedy, New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, as well as senior Ministry of Agriculture officials and members of the New Zealand diplomatic mission in Brussels.

During the visit, the Minister took the opportunity to speak about Customs’ contribution to border management including food security and environmental issues. In response, the Secretary General provided the following explanations:

  • The amendments contained in the 2012 version of the Harmonized System (HS) dealt mainly with food security and environmental issues which was a clear indication that the mission of the HS had evolved from a purely fiscal function to one governing broader issues that centred on protecting the health and safety of citizens including concerns relating to food security and the environment.
  • Coordinated border management (CBM) was a core component of the WCO’s ‘Customs in the 21st Century’ strategic policy and New Zealand provided a good model for CBM due to the extensive coordination at the border between New Zealand Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture as well as with other border agencies. The mechanisms used in New Zealand had been clearly explained at the recent WCO Inter-Agency Forum on Coordinated Border management.
  • Version 3.0 of the WCO Data Model (DM) included both Customs requirements and those of other border agencies, and its single window (SW) capacity had also been extended as more governments view the SW for business as a way to reduce repetition and as a crucial building block to the future expansion of international trade. The DM had thus become an essential enabler for the introduction of a SW environment, a fact that had recently been recognized by UN/CEFACT.
  • Technology, including non-intrusive inspection equipment, played a central role in modern Customs operations and paved the way for a ‘globally networked Customs’, another concept which was integral to the WCO’s Customs in the 21st Century policy paper. Although this was a long-term endeavour, the WCO would nevertheless be doing all it could to facilitate the achievement of this goal.

The Minister appreciated the foresighted activities that were being undertaken by the WCO to facilitate cooperation between Customs and other border agencies and its desire to eventually achieve a globally networked Customs community.

Turning to the global financial crisis, Mr Mikuriya advised that the WCO had taken a proactive stance in this respect and had sent a communication to the G20 on 25 March 2009. In its communication the WCO had urged the G20 to note and promote the following actions: national and regional authorities should promote trade facilitation measures consistent with international customs and other border agency standards; advanced economies and international donor organizations should promote customs modernization capacity building programmes, including the necessary infrastructure for emerging market economies and developing countries, which will promote trade and investment globally; and the WCO and other relevant international organizations should be encouraged to monitor the trends in international trade and to identify best practices in sustaining the global trading system.

The WCO was pleased to note that the final G20 Communiqué issued on 2 April 2009 at the end of the London Summit echoed the spirit of the recommendations made by the WCO. In the meantime the WCO was doing all it could to promote trade facilitation among its Members as it firmly believed that this would facilitate recovery from the global recession.

Minister Carter expressed his appreciation for the measures that had been taken by the WCO under the Secretary General’s leadership. Mr. Mikuriya thanked the Minister for taking time to visit the WCO and stressed the importance of political support for the work of Customs and other border agencies.