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WCO visits Timor-Leste in support of Customs reform

26 julio 2019

At the invitation of Timor-Leste’s Customs Authority, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Timor-Leste Customs in Dili, on 22 and 23 July 2019 in support of Customs reform.

Secretary General Mikuriya met with Mr. Jose Fátima Abílio, Director General of Timor-Leste Customs, and his management team to identify the challenges faced by Customs and consider the way forward for the ongoing Customs reform process and Customs cooperation.

Dr. Mikuriya also met with Ms. Sara Lobo Brites, Acting Minister of Finance, and discussed the Customs modernization reform that has taken place over the past two years, namely the transition from a Ministerial Directorate General to the establishment of the Customs Authority, the rollout of the Asycuda system with an extension to other ministries for the Single Window, and the integration of a risk management system. 

While appreciative of the WCO’s support, Acting Minister Lobo Brites stressed the importance of acceding to the WCO’s Conventions including the Harmonized System Convention (HSC) and the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).  This would pave the way for Timor-Leste’s future accession to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  They also discussed ways of enhancing Coordinated Border Management with other government agencies.

After tours of seaports and airports, Dr. Mikuriya held a series of meetings with political leaders.  He met with Mr. José Ramos-Horta, former President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and discussed public sector reform, emphasizing the topic of integrity. 

In order to enhance coordination with other border agencies, Dr. Mikuriya had a meeting with Mr. Joaquim Jose Gusmao, Minister of Agriculture, who pledged his support for Customs-Quarantine cooperation.  He also held talks with Mr. Filomeno Paixao de Jesus, Minister of Defence and Interior, to explore ways of improving integrity in the public sector as well as cooperation between Customs, Immigration and Police.  Finally, Secretary General Mikuriya met with Dr. Dionisio da Costa Babo Soares, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to seek his support for the ratification of key WCO instruments.