WCO 2014 council sessions conclude in Brussels

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The Council of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) held its 2014 session at the organisation’s headquarters in Brussels last week with discussions focusing on, among other things, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), Customs-business partnerships, the transition away from pre-shipment inspection and destination inspection services, and combating illegal wildlife trade.

Members of the Council also recognized the critical role played by research, technical assistance and capacity building, knowledge promotion and the sharing of intelligence and information, as well as the need for well-coordinated international cooperation and effective trade management and enforcement tools, leading to enhanced risk management, more extensive connectivity, and better coordinated border management.

The WCO also launched the Mercator Programme to support WCO Members as they begin to implement the WTO TFA.

Towards the end of the session on Friday, the WCO Council was visited by Roberto Azevêdo, the Director-General of the WTO, who gave a keynote address and expressed his appreciation for the WTO-WCO partnership, especially in relation to the TFA.

The WCO Council witnessed Togo and Cambodia deposit their instruments of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention, bringing the number of Contracting Parties to this WCO instrument to 94.

The world customs governing council unanimously adopted the declaration on the Illegal Wildlife Trade that reinforces the commitment of the global Customs community to fight against the crime.

“Having underscored an imminent threat posed by the growth in illegal wildlife trade and having emphasised the determination of the Customs administrations to serve as an effective and efficient deterrent against the proliferation of this phenomenon, the Declaration contains ten action points, the implementation of which will allow Customs administrations to achieve better results in this domain.

“Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) mutual recognition agreements (MRA) were signed between Japan and Malaysia; Hong Kong China and Singapore; and the United States and Israel,” the WCO stated in a press release after the council meeting on Friday.

The 2014 sessions included the election of Mr. Zouhair Chorfi of Morocco as Chairperson of the Council, and the re-election of Mr. Sergio Mujica of Chile as Deputy Secretary General of the WCO, for a five-year term.