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WCO and WHO sign Statement of Intent to combat the illicit tobacco trade

20 марта 2014

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Secretariat of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) signed a Statement of Intent to further strengthen cooperation between the two organizations in the fight to combat the illicit tobacco trade, following the adoption in November 2012 of the WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The Protocol aims to combat the illegal trade in tobacco products through control of the supply chain and enhanced international cooperation, thereby protecting people around the world from the health risks of tobacco, ensuring that all Customs, excise and other tax revenues due are collected and accounted for, and reducing the burden on national health systems.

Of particular note is the fact that the Protocol contains an explicit reference to the need for cooperation between the WHO FCTC Secretariat and the WCO, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other bodies, hence the decision by the WCO and the WHO FCTC Secretariat to sign a Statement of Intent that provides a formal framework for their cooperation on eliminating the illicit tobacco trade.

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the WCO, and Dr. Haik Nikogosian, the Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, signed the Statement of Intent during a bilateral meeting at WCO Headquarters on 20 March 2014, where Dr. Nikogosian also delivered a keynote address at the Joint Session of the WCO’s Permanent Technical Committee and Enforcement Committee.

“The signing of this Statement of Intent will go a long way in further cementing the long-standing cooperation between the WCO and the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, while facilitating the early entry into force of the Protocol” said the Secretary General of the WCO. “It is also a clear acknowledgement of the crucial role that Customs can play in fighting illegal cross-border trade, including the illicit trade in tobacco products that has a negative impact on societies across the globe,” emphasized Dr. Mikuriya.

“As the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, which is also the Secretariat of the new Protocol on illicit tobacco trade, we are pleased to further strengthen our cooperation with the WCO,” said the Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, Dr. Haik Nikogosian. “The Protocol will provide Customs administrations with additional tools to fight illicit tobacco trade. To enable the early entry into force of this important treaty, the cooperation of Customs with the health and other government sectors will be critical,” Dr. Nikogosian stressed. 

The WCO and the WHO FCTC Secretariat recognize that open and collaborative communications and working relations are fundamental to the success of their partnership, and have agreed to work together in the future to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products globally, in line with the provisions of the Protocol.

To date, the Protocol has 54 signatories and one ratification.

Photos

  • The Statement of Intent was signed by Dr. Haik Nikogosian, the Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the WCO Secretary General, at WCO Headquarters on 20 March 2014

    The Statement of Intent was signed by Dr. Haik Nikogosian, the Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the WCO Secretary General, at WCO Headquarters on 20 March 2014

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