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Heads of Customs Administrations in the Asia/Pacific Region elevate engagement with stakeholders

18 marzo 2016

At the invitation of Dato’ Sri Khazali bin Haji Ahmad, Director General of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Vice-Chair of the WCO Asia/Pacific region, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya participated in the 17th WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (RHCA) Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 14 to 18 March 2016.

Opening the Conference, Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Husni bin Mohamad Hanadzlah, Minister of Finance II of Malaysia, extended a warm welcome to the delegates.  He emphasized the important role of Customs in today’s challenging economic and security environment.  The Chair of the Conference, Dato’ Sri Khazali Ahmad, underlined the significance of the engagement with the private sector to enhance trade facilitation and security of the supply chain 

Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the key topics discussed at the Policy Commission in December 2015 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, namely the Punta Cana Resolution which concerned the role of Customs in security matters and the components of the WCO Security Programme, including enhanced border control in respect, inter alia, of wildlife and cultural heritage; cooperation between Customs and Police; the Mercator Programme under which Members were supported for the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; Customs/Tax cooperation towards effective revenue functioning; performance measurement in the context of ‘Achieving Excellence in Customs’; Digital Customs; and private sector engagement. Members supported these areas of work as the path to pursue. 

The Conference discussed a range of issues of importance to the Region, including nominating  Fiji as the Vice-Chair for the Region from July 2016, the nomination process for the Vice-Chair in the future, endorsement of the Regional Strategic Plan 2016-2018, operational activities on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and drugs, as well as the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.  Finally, the Conference also expressed appreciation for the activities of the regional structures, namely the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) and the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB). 

Emphasizing the willingness of the Asia/Pacific Members to engage in enforcement operations, a press conference was organized during the RHCA, with a focus on IPR and drug enforcement.  Following introductory remarks by the Vice-Chair and the Secretary General, three Members from the Region provided a briefing on recent operations, namely the Action IPR A/P (Dato’ Sri Khazali Ahmad, Director General of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department),  Operation SKY-NET II (Mr. Li Ming, Deputy Director General of the General Administration of China Customs) and Operation CATalyst (Mr. Kim Nak-Hoe, Commissioner of the Korean Customs Service).  The critical role of Customs in combating illicit trade in these domains was highlighted during the press conference, and an active Question-and-Answer session was held with the press.  The press releases for the aforementioned Operations can be consulted via the following links:

  • For Action IPR A/P, click here;
  • For Operation SKY-NET II, click here;
  • For Operation CATalyst, click here.

The Conference was enhanced by the dialogue established between Customs and the private sector through the Private Sector Engagement Forum held on 16 March 2016, with the theme of ‘The Use of Advanced Technology for Effective and Efficient Customs Operations’.  With participation by the delegates to the Conference and representatives from the private sector who are in partnership with Customs, the Forum considered how technology could address emerging issues and challenges faced by Customs, ensuring supply chain security while enhancing trade facilitation.  The delegates took the opportunity to engage with the private sector at the Forum, as well as at the accompanying exhibition which demonstrated effective use of technology that can be utilized to strengthen the functioning of Customs. 

Secretary General Mikuriya expressed, on behalf of all the participants, his appreciation to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department for the excellent organization of the Conference and for the warm hospitality extended to delegates.