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WCO and OPCW expand cooperation to prevent misuse of toxic chemicals

16 enero 2017

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons (OPCW) signed, on 13 January 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that expands cooperation to tighten national and international controls on the trade in toxic chemicals.

The new agreement puts in place procedures that will further enhance cooperation between the WCO and the OPCW through consultations, exchanges of information and documents, technical cooperation, as well as cross-representation at relevant meetings. The Memorandum was signed by the WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü.

"This strategic partnership constitutes a significant step forward to assist States Parties’ efforts in enhancing the capabilities of national Customs authorities to exercise the oversight necessary for the trade in dual-use chemicals. This will help them prevent the misuse of toxic chemicals, and promote peaceful use of chemistry, thus contributing to a safer world. Current threats posed by non-state actors make control over these transfers especially important for international security," Ambassador Üzümcü observed.

"I am pleased that in a partnership with the OPCW, we can continue to put Customs administrations in a better position to meet the complex challenges posed by the illegal trade in toxic and dual-use chemicals. By combining our expertise and resources, as well as our years of experience in building enforcement capacity and strengthening trade controls, this partnership provides the WCO and the OPCW with the means to mobilize Customs officials worldwide, enabling a significant impact to be made on the ground at borders," said Secretary General Dr Mikuriya.

Customs authorities around the world play a significant role in detecting and preventing the illegal trade in chemicals relevant to the OPCW’s Chemical Weapons Convention. A close partnership with the WCO constitutes another step in the OPCW’s path to reducing the risk of chemicals used as weapons.