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WCO Secretary General addresses the Global Development Network of researchers

07 noviembre 2022

On 2 November 2022, at the invitation of the Global Development Network (GDN), a worldwide network of research and policy institutes related to the contemporary development challenges, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke on Customs research agenda at the 2022 Global Development Conference: Tax Policy for Sustainable Development, held from 2 to 4 November at Clermont-Ferrand, France.

At the opening session, Dr. Mikuriya mentioned three areas of Customs research: digital transformation, border management in fragile and conflict-affected situations (fragile borders) and environmental issues. He announced that in terms of digital transformation, the WCO has developed a Data Strategy to assist Customs at becoming trusted government advisers. Customs can provide data for government agencies, including tax authorities, and business, for evidence-based decision-making.

Secretary General Mikuriya called upon researchers to join the Customs Data Innovation Hub to create proof of concepts, together with Customs and the private sector. He highlighted the role of Customs in fragile borders areas, particularly in protecting trade and taxation in fragile and conflict-affected situations. He explained the importance of Customs presence in fragile areas to collect revenue, thus ensuring a lifeline for borderlands while defending the legitimacy of states against insurgents. Finally, he invited researchers to reflect on how to tackle the problem of lack of data and traceability on recycled goods in order to promote circular economy.

Dr. Mikuriya had a series of discussions with international organizations and academic institutions specialized in taxation about the role and relevance of Customs in sustainable development. They expressed their interest in collaborating with the WCO in the area of research by providing data and statistics.