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CBP Advances International Engagement during World Customs Organization Policy Commission Session

Release Date: 
December 17, 2013

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski led the U.S. delegation to the 70th session of the World Customs Organization Policy Commission, Dec. 9 to 11. Hosted by Ireland’s Office of the Revenue Commissioners and held in Dublin this year, the policy commission represented 30 of the WCO’s full membership of 179 countries.

U.S. delegates to the World Customs Organization Policy Commission

The U.S. delegation to the World Customs Organization Policy Commission meeting furthered U.S. trade interests. Left to right: CBP Attache Gregory Olsavsky, London; CBP Office of International Affairs Assistant Commissioner Charles Stallworth; CBP Chief of Staff Kimberly O’Connor; Daniel Gage, Department of State; CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski; CBP Director of International Organizations and Agreements David Dolan; CBP International Relations Specialist Maria Luisa Eichhorst; CBP Attaché Joseph Rees, U.S. Mission to the European Union; CBP Attaché Brendan O’Hearn, Tokyo.

The meeting began on the heels of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement on Dec. 7. The WTO agreement is expected to simplify customs procedures, reduce costs and speed the pace of international trade for its 159 member economies. The WCO members discussed the role of customs administrations in enacting the WTO plan. The commission recommended that the WCO incorporate the WTO’s trade agreement into its strategic plan and asked that member customs administrations work with their other government agencies to implement the WTO agreement.

Winkowski originally had proposed a key initiative at the June session of the WCO Council Session, proposing that the WCO develop guidelines or standards for customs-business partnership. At last week’s meeting, the commission and members of the Private Sector Consultative Group discussed ways for customs administrations to further their private-sector engagement. Winkowski highlighted CBP’s partnership success with its Trade Transformation initiatives.

While in Dublin, Winkowski held a dozen bilateral meetings with his counterparts to advance strategic CBP initiatives. From capacity building to increased targeting cooperation and agreements, these discussions set the stage for CBP’s continued international engagement.

Finally, Winkowski met with Dublin Airport directors and emphasized CBP’s hope to increase automated passport processing. He also toured CBP preclearance operations at the airport and spoke to the CBP officers on duty and thanked them for their service.

 

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