World Customs Organization2003-02-25 12:18:44


At the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels this week, an international task force of customs experts and representatives from intergovernmental organizations, NGO's and private sector interests involved in trade and transport meet held their third meeting. They continued work on a plan of action designed to secure international trade against the threat of terrorism and organised crime, while ensuring smooth trade flows.

During their discussions, the Task Force which will report to the WCO Council in June 2003,

agreed on the 27 data elements required by Customs administrations to identify high-risk consignments and further consultation was agreed to determine, by mode, where the information can be obtained and the earliest possible time it can be provided.
reviewed a new draft international Convention which will enable the exchange of information and the provision of assistance between Customs administrations. Draft guidelines to assist governments to draft national legislation to give effect to the Convention were also agreed. The draft Convention will be further considered by the WCO Enforcement Committee next week.

considered draft international guidelines on Customs/Business co-operation. New guidelines will now be prepared to take account of the needs and different characteristics of each business sector, commencing with the maritime and air transport sectors. A final Framework document will be considered at the next meeting of the Task Force.

Earlier, the WCO Secretary General, Michel Danet briefed the Task Force on recent discussions that had been held with the World Bank and other international donor institutions. These concerned the need to assist capacity building of customs administrations in developing countries. He outlined an initiative in which the WCO and the World Bank hoped to collaborate on various pilot projects to improve the ability of customs services to facilitate trade and protect their communities through improved security. In this way, Customs administrations would be better positioned to play a significant role in poverty reduction and economic and trade security.

The Task Force will meet again in Brussels on 7, 8 and 9 May when it will consider the work conducted during the inter-session and prepare a final package of measures for consideration by the Directors General of Customs from the WCO's 161 Member governments at the June 2003 WCO Council Sessions.

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