WCO attends the 7th Meeting of the ECO Council of Customs Administrations Heads

26 十月 2016

At the invitation of Mr. Masoud Karbasian, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica attended the 7th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Customs Administrations of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), held in Tehran, Iran, from 17 to 19 October 2016.

The ECO is an intergovernmental organization set up in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, and later expanded to include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The meeting was attended by Heads of Customs and senior officers from ECO Members, who deliberated on the impediments to the free flow of goods and services across borders, and explored ways to enhance Customs cooperation with the aim of boosting intra- and inter-regional trade. Various Customs-related topics were discussed, including the establishment of a database on smuggling and Customs offences, exchange of information among ECO Members, Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status, transit provisions, and training.

In his opening address, Mr. Ali Tayebnia, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Iran, stressed that international trade plays a significant role in enhancing economic and social progress, especially in this region where, due to geographical contiguity, ECO Members have the capacity to develop trade ties among themselves through the improvement of Customs infrastructures and procedures. Minister Tayebnia also underscored the fact that the expansion of intra- and extra-regional trade is key to achieving ECO’s vision for 2025, and that Customs can play a significant role to meet this goal.

Mr. Karbasian, Deputy Minister and President of IRICA, welcomed all the delegations and highlighted the tremendous potentialities of ECO countries in terms of human and natural resources. He underscored the need for greater economic cooperation among Members, especially in the Customs field. He then gave a comprehensive account of the steps taken to modernize IRICA, offering his cooperation in this domain.

WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica thanked the Iranian Government for its warm hospitality.  He went on to present the WCO Strategic Plan, mentioning the challenges and opportunities currently facing the international Customs community. Mr. Mujica also described the WCO’s key initiatives, instruments and tools in support of its Members, including initiatives such as the ECO, to foster regional integration.

During his mission to Iran, the Deputy Secretary General also held bilateral meetings with IRICA. Mr. Mujica first met with Mr. Karbasian to discuss IRICA’s main initiatives in pursuit of its modernization process, especially in the information and communications technology (ICT) area. He then met with IRICA’s management team and gave a presentation on the WCO Strategic Plan and the Organization’s priorities, followed by a discussion to identify areas of opportunity for further cooperation, including trade facilitation, security, enforcement operations, and capacity building.