On February 10, the World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya outlined his vision and priorities for the WCO, during a meeting of the Interagency Committee on World Customs Organization Matters, held at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) headquarters and chaired by CBP Acting Assistant Commissioner for International Affairs Mark Koumans.
The quarterly Interagency Committee meeting brought together representatives from U.S. government agencies and departments with a stake in customs matters. The committee discussed the activities of the WCO and coordinated related U.S. policies and activities. Leaders from 17 U.S. agencies and departments participated in the meeting.
“In this year focused on Digital Customs, we explore if Customs is keeping pace with the digital world,” said Secretary General Mikuriya, who went on to outline four main WCO priorities: facilitation and security of the global supply chain, revenue collection, protection of society, and capacity building.
Secretary General Mikuriya explained that supporting the implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement remains a key area of focus for the WCO. In addition, he noted the December 2015 Punta Cana Resolution, which emphasizes the key role that Customs Administrations play in the fight against terrorism. Through the WCO Security Programme, the WCO is strengthening the capacity of Customs administrations to address security threats nationally and internationally through the use of its international standards and technical assistance programs.
After his remarks, Secretary General Mikuriya and the participants shared their thoughts on a number of issues including Single Window development, trade enforcement, collaboration with other international organizations and law enforcement authorities, information exchange, the protection of society, and the importance of inter-agency cooperation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.