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Regional Seminar on Customs Laboratory and Chemical Analysis in Japan

21 noviembre 2016

In June 2014, the Central Customs Laboratory (CCL) of Japan became Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) for the Asia-Pacific Region and since then has undertaken a number of activities. The most recent was a WCO regional workshop on capacity building of Customs laboratories, which took place at the CCL in Kashiwa, Japan, from 9 to 11 November 2016. The seminar was organized by ROCB Asia-Pacific in cooperation with Japan Customs and funded by CCF-Japan. Twenty-nine Customs laboratory and high-level staff from 23 countries in the region participated in the workshop, which focused on the sharing of good practices on Customs chemical analysis.

Representatives from the Central Expert-Criminalistic Customs Administration (CECCA) of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, which became Central Customs Laboratory for the WCO Europe Region in October 2016, also attended and made presentations on the structure of the Customs laboratory work in the Russian Federation and on methods for identifying polymers. A representative from the European Commission, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, made a presentation on the Customs Laboratories European Network (CLEN), including details on the database containing analytical methods applied by the Customs laboratories in the EU.

In his opening speech, Mr. Hiroshi Kishimoto, Deputy Director General of the Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Japan, welcomed all participants and stressed the importance of the scientific work carried out by Customs laboratories in relation to revenue collection and protection of society and the environment, as well as trade facilitation. In order to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of the laboratory work in the region, Japan Customs had published the first version of "Good Practices on Customs Chemical Analysis" and Japan Customs would continue the work in this regard. However, further regional cooperation was required and he invited all participants to share their good practices.

The WCO and ROCB A/P representatives echoed the importance of sharing good practices and analytical methods and noted that the workshop would provide a good example to other Customs laboratories on how to enhance the work using a regional approach, set forth in the approved Action Plan for Phase III of the Revenue Package. The participation of colleagues from the Russian Federation and the EU was also seen as an important step for more inter-regional cooperation.  

During the workshop, participants learned about the WCO and its mission, the HS-2017 amendments in the chemicals sector, the Customs Laboratory Guide, the role of a Customs Laboratory, the role of the Asia-Pacific RCL and the WCO-Japan Regional Customs Laboratory Programme, and the ROCB Asia-Pacific activities.

On the main topic "Sharing of good practices on Customs chemical analysis", 30 presentations were made by the participants and staff from the CCL, covering analysis of minerals, inorganics, petroleum products, fats and oils, polymers and rubbers, ground-nuts, ceramic tiles, drugs, as well as the establishment and improvement of Customs laboratories. These presentations were well received and showed the goodwill of cooperation in the region.

The practical work of a Customs laboratory was also shown during a tour of the CCL where examples of the use of non-intrusive instruments, DNA analysis on food products, and drug testing were given.

In his closing speech, Mr. Noriaki Oka, Director General of the CCL/RCL, stated that the workshop had provided a good opportunity to gain knowledge and to exchange experience and he invited the participants to make use of the knowledge and to use the network that had been established. He emphasized that Japan will continue to cooperate and noted that the second version of the "Good Practices on Customs Chemical Analysis" was under development and would be published in due course. The workshop had also paved the way for further international cooperation on Customs laboratory work.