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WCO Secretary General meets leading public and private sector officials in Washington DC

28 octubre 2009

WCO Secretary General meets leading public and private sector officials in Washington DC

27-30 October 2009


WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited the US from 27 to 30 October 2009. Besides the meeting with the Inter-American Devlopment Bank (see related report), he met with several representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Mr. Mikuriya said, "The US has always provided the WCO with vision and leadership supported by its business community. I am pleased that the US continues to be committed to cooperating with the global Customs community through the WCO as we move towards our shared goals for the 21st Century".

An outline of Mr. Mikuriya’s visit appears below:

- A meeting with the Acting Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) Jay Ahern and his senior officials. The Secretary General raised the continued concerns of WCO Members on US 100% scanning requirements by 2012. He explained the results of the WCO SAFE implementation survey which US CBP will carefully consider to see if it contains the basis for alternative proposals in this regard. The Globally Networked Customs concept could be another means to facilitate the risk management approach advocated by the WCO. US CBP would continue to provide support for WCO capacity building and human resource issues. USCPB confirmed the entry into force on 26 January 2010 of the Importer Security Filing (10+2 data) requirements and expressed a willingness to address WCO Members in WCO fora to explain the US data requirements and screening proposals.

- A private tete-a- tete with Mr Bersin, an Assistant Commissioner with the the Department of Homeland Security and the Presidential nominee for the vacant post of US CBP Commissioner.

- Discussions with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Morton and senior officials that concentrated on the many positive aspects of ICE’s contribution to WCO activities, including Operation ATLAS that targeted the illicit smuggling of cash by couriers. The Operation was led by ICE and supported by the WCO.

- Over the course of four days, the Secretary General met with government agencies concerned with trade issues (USTR, Treasury) and a wide range of business interests. It was noted that trade facilitation was back on the agenda as a matter of major importance. However, trade representatives spoken to over the course of the visit (American Association of Exporters (AAEI), Canadian Manufactures and Exporters Association, the Joint Industries Group, National Association of Manufacturer (NAM), US Chamber of Commerce, Express Association of America, several representatives from the top 500 companies and representatives from top business consultancies) seek clearer signs of movement towards trade facilitation measures than are currently evident in the US Customs Re-Authorization Bill. There is recognition within the business community that lobbying for the implementation of international standards such as the WCO Data Model is required. Both the business community and government agencies expressed a willingness to take part in initiatives considering the feasibility of developing the WCO Globally Networked Customs concept.

- Meeting with Washington-based Customs Attaches which provided the Secretary General with an opportunity to present current and future WCO strategies.

The World Bank and IMF have both expressed support for the implementation of WCO standards and pledged to continue to work with the WCO to improve the capacity of Customs worldwide.