World Customs Organization2003-07-16 10:31:03

WCO Council approves several initiatives to improve the security and facilitation of the international Trade Supply Chain

The World Customs Organization Council which met in Brussels last week adopted a series of measures that will provide a solid framework of international best practices and standards to be used by its 162 Customs Member administrations. These will assist them to secure the international trade supply chain while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and to implement the requirements of their respective governments.

In this context, the world's Director Generals of Customs also approved a number of measures that had been under discussion within a WCO Task Force which it had established in June 2002 to examine specific requests from G8 and the International Maritime Organization and respond to increasing concern that the international trade supply chain might be used as a means of delivery for weapons of mass destruction.

With respect to this, the Council approved the following:

- A new international Convention and commentary on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters;
- The WCO Data Model and a list of essential data elements required for the identification of high risk consignments;
- International Customs guidelines on advance cargo information;
- Guidelines for the development of national laws for the collection and transmission of Customs information;
- High level guidelines for co-operative arrangements between WCO Members and the private sector to increase supply chain security;
- Enhancements to the WCO's information and intelligence strategy including the operation of its global RILO (Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices) network ;
- A new internet based technology databank to enable WCO Members to identify technology to assist detection of illegal consignments and contraband.

On the important issue of trade facilitation, the WCO Council approved a message from the international customs community to national trade negotiators who will attend the September 2003 WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun. This will highlight the critical role that Customs administrations have in facilitating international trade and the importance of improving the capacity of customs administrations in the developing world.

A new WCO Capacity Building strategy and a revised Arusha Declaration on Integrity in Customs were also considered and adopted by the Council. A programme of work was established to develop a plan to implement the Capacity Building Strategy.

On the issue of drug trafficking, the Council issued a Declaration on the Illicit Traffic in Drugs which reaffirmed their commitment to actively fight against international drug trafficking and the need for increased co-operation with other competent international organizations such as the UNODC and INTERPOL.

Finally, the Council approved a new three year Strategic Plan for the Organization to enable it to face the challenges that had been identified.

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