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WCO Secretary General supports the opening of the new RILO Asia Pacific Office

16 febrero 2024

The World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General, Ian Saunders, welcomed the official opening of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) Asia/Pacific on 6 February 2024, in Tokyo, Japan. The ceremony attracted over 150 participants, including Heads of Member Customs Administrations from Asia and the Pacific, Global RILO Network partners, international partner organizations, stakeholders from the private sector.

The ceremony started with a video address by the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, followed by a video address  from WCO Secretary General Ian Saunders. In his message, Secretary General Saunders underscored the pioneering role of the RILO Asia/Pacific and its success in supporting Member administrations in the fight against illicit trade across the region and globally. He expressed his expectation for the Office’s enhanced role in data and intelligence analysis to further guide enforcement actions and bolster collaborative efforts.

Following the opening ceremony, Secretary General Saunders chaired a high-level roundtable for the WCO Asia/Pacific region, focusing on the Enhancement of Data/Intelligence Analysis and Cooperation Networks. He emphasized the vital need for improved analytical capabilities and collaborative networks to tackle the dynamic challenges in Customs enforcement. The roundtable discussions covered various enforcement-related topics, such as risk management, intelligence sharing, and the application of cutting-edge technologies, offering significant insights for policy deliberation among attendees.

In the margins of the event, Secretary General Saunders engaged in bilateral meetings with Heads of Customs Administrations of the Asia/Pacific region, including Japan as a new host administration of RILO AP and of the event, to foster continued and more meaningful engagement from Members. He also visited the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), meeting with its President, Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, to discuss concrete collaborative projects between the two Organizations aimed at further assisting Members in their modernization efforts. Their discussions reaffirmed the ongoing partnership on initiatives such as the Master Trainer Programme.

Additionally, Secretary General Saunders toured the newly inaugurated RILO Asia/Pacific Office, receiving updates on its objectives and forthcoming projects. He motivated the Office’s personnel to pursue new initiatives.

The events marked a significant step forward in strengthening international cooperation and collective efforts to combat illicit trade in the Asia/Pacific region.