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Enhancing connectivity between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China: Custom’s role highlighted

01 marzo 2019

At the invitation of the Director General of Macau Customs, Mr. Alex Vong, and the Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs, Mr. Hermes Tang, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited both Customs Administrations of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China on 26 and 27 February 2019. On 1 March 2019 he also visited Hong Kong Customs College, which serves as a WCO Regional Training Centre (RTC).

In Macau, the Secretary General met with Director General Vong and his management team before visiting the newly created passenger processing post built to facilitate the movement of passengers along the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau Bridge, a 55 kilometre bridge-tunnel system which opened in October 2018. This new transport route is expected to boost Macau’s tourism and leisure industry.

The Secretary General then crossed the Bridge to Hong Kong, which can now be reached by land from Macau and Zhuhai within an hour. In the past, Macau was only connected to Hong Kong by ferry. On the Hong Kong side of the bridge, Dr. Mikuriya visited the new facilities built to process passengers and cargo. These serve as a very good illustration of how the “SMART Customs concept”, the WCO’s theme for 2019, translates into reality. The opening of the bridge, together with the inauguration in September 2018 of a railway station for high-speed trains linking Hong Kong and Beijing via Guangzhou and Shenzhen, is expected to further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a financial and transportation hub. The development of these new transport infrastructures is part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area project, bringing together the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau and nine municipalities in Guangdong Province to form an economic development zone in South China. After the visit, the Secretary General met with Commissioner Tang and his management team in Hong Kong to discuss the impact of these developments and opportunities as well as the challenges lying ahead in terms of Customs operations.

Dr. Mikuriya took the opportunity to pay a visit to Hong Kong Customs College, which also serves as a WCO RTC. Formerly known as the Customs and Excise Training School, it was renamed on 1 January 2019 after its curriculum was recognized as offering the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree by the Hong Kong authorities. The Secretary General expressed his appreciation for the College’s contribution to the development of the Customs community‘s knowledge and for its commitment to instilling a taste for excellence in Customs officers.