Driving customs toward a safe, prosperous, and inclusive future
Ian Saunders is a proven and principled leader with more than 20 years of customs experience and 30 years of experience in international relations. A member of the U.S. Government Senior Executive Service since 2008, Mr. Saunders has a record of addressing complex challenges and elevating organizations to excellence. He has served the public and the international community in diverse and challenging roles focused on various facets of trade: customs, commercial policy, travel, and infrastructure. Collaborative in style, considered in communication, and accomplished in delivery, Mr. Saunders has led the implementation of programs, formulation of policies, and forging of partnerships that have advanced facilitation and security in trade worldwide.
Mr. Saunders has been at the forefront of customs’ evolution from a purely revenue-generating enterprise to one that has adopted a proactive enforcement posture to safeguard our societies from the cross-border movement of illicit goods and bad actors. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Mr. Saunders supported development of the SAFE Framework and promoted its global implementation via the WCO. He continues to advocate for coordinated border management to respond to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal exploitation of e-commerce shipments, the adverse effects of climate change, and other contemporary threats. Mr. Saunders is committed to providing pragmatic, accountable leadership that will empower customs agencies to address these challenges.
Parallel to its efforts to ensure safety, customs must sustain its tradition of facilitating trade to promote global prosperity. In his current role as a senior leader at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mr. Saunders has implemented policies, programs, and strategies that have strengthened commercial cooperation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Saunders’ deep understanding of the needs of customs and the trade community enables him to forge strong and enduring public-private partnerships. He is committed to ensuring predictability and consistency for customs, the trade community, and the public by fully implementing the WCO’s flagship instruments. While respecting the WCO’s rich past, Mr. Saunders recognizes the need to innovate and adapt to modern challenges. He will leverage his experience negotiating information sharing arrangements and leading global technology exchanges to help customs agencies harness new trade facilitation technologies while protecting sensitive business information. Mr. Saunders recognizes that a key to balancing the new with the old is to ensure that the WCO’s working bodies have feasible, time-bound scopes of work that are cost-effective and aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities.
Inclusivity is fundamental to the continued success of the WCO and to the effectiveness of global customs cooperation. Mr. Saunders made responsiveness to members a hallmark of his leadership of the WCO’s Permanent Technical Committee. Through his experience overseeing U.S. Customs and Border Protection capacity building initiatives, Mr. Saunders developed a keen awareness of member needs and an effective approach to delivering solutions that enabled partners to tackle local problems while strengthening their ability to participate at the international level. He understands that the global customs community is strongest when it welcomes a diversity of thought and experience. Mr. Saunders is committed to transparency and openness as fundamental principles of good governance and as keys to realizing a safe, prosperous, and inclusive future.
Mr. Saunders has dedicated himself to improving the lives of all touched by the customs community and will bring that dedication to the post of Secretary General.
Intended U.S. Candidate for the World Customs Organization Secretary General Engages ASEAN Partners in Singapore
Intended U.S. Candidate for the WCO SG Connects with Customs and Trade Stakeholders in Lima, Peru
Intended U.S. Candidate for the WCO SG celebrates WCO’s 70th Anniversary in Maastricht
Intended U.S. Candidate for the WCO SG Connects with Customs Leaders in the Middle East
Ian Saunders Campaign brochures in multiple languages.
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The Ian Saunders Campaign Podcast Series
The Ian Saunders Campaign Podcast: Protect
Ian Saunders is the U.S. candidate for Secretary General of the World Customs Organization. In this podcast, he discusses one of the four pillars of his campaign, Protect. Join Mr. Saunders and host, David Quiñones, on a deep dive into Mr. Saunders’ campaign!
El podcast de la campaña de Ian Saunders: Proteger
Ian Saunders es el candidato estadounidense al cargo de Secretario General de la Organización Mundial de Aduanas. En este podcast, habla sobre uno de los cuatro pilares de su campaña, Proteger. ¡Únase al Sr. Saunders y al presentador, David Quiñones, en una inmersión profunda en la campaña del Sr. Saunders!