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Strong political support for Russian Customs reform highlighted at international event in Moscow

23 octubre 2012

 Russia, 23 October 2012


At the invitation of the Head of the Russian Federal Customs Service, Andrey Beliyaninov, the Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at the XIII International Exhibition and Conference on Customs in Moscow, Russia on 23 October 2012. 

At the launch of the International Exhibition entitled “Customs Service – 2012”, Mr. Beliyaninov welcomed delegates from some 20 Customs administrations. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, recalled the expanding role of Customs from traditional revenue collection to facilitating economic competitiveness and fighting against illicit trade. He therefore stressed the importance of modernizing Customs procedures by using technology and sharing best practices, one of the priorities for Russia’s government.

In his speech Exhibition visitors, Secretary General Mikuriya said that the use of technology should be based on the WCO’s risk management approach, in addition to underlining the importance of partnerships with service providers, business and other government agencies in the use of the technology and the reengineering of Customs procedures.

At the opening of the Conference, the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, made a special address in which he identified the challenges and problems of Russian Customs and indicated the way ahead. He wished to use Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the creation of a Eurasian Union as momentum for reform in order to gain economic competitiveness where the transformation of Customs plays a crucial role. In conclusion he said that this year's WCO motto, namely "Borders divide, Customs connects" effectively captured the needs of states and business. He also wished to enhance cooperation with the WCO.

Following the Prime Minister’s address, Secretary General Mikuriya gave some introductory remarks on connectivity, mentioning its several layers: technology, institution and people. On the people level Customs and other border agencies should enhance integrity and professionalism whilst business should improve compliance, which is the basis for trust between stakeholders at borders. He stressed the importance of the Conference as a mechanism for dialogue between Customs and business.

Business participants appreciated the opportunity that the Conference offered and the strong political and international support for Customs reform shown at the opening and during subsequent discussions. They pledged to work together to achieve common goals in a positive manner.

During a bilateral meeting with the Secretary General, Mr. Beliyaninov supported the WCO's anti-counterfeiting initiatives and presented documents concerning Russian Customs’ formal adherence to IPM. He suggested that the WCO also focus on transfers of illegal funds and doping issues related to sports events. Mr. Beliyaninov undertook to strengthen the Russian contribution to the WCO by supporting regional structures.