World Customs Organization Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya outlined his vision and priorities for the WCO during an Oct. 21 meeting of the Interagency Committee on World Customs Organization Matters, held at U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters and chaired by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.
The Interagency Committee quarterly meeting brings together representatives from U.S. government agencies and departments with a stake in customs matters. The committee discusses the activities of the WCO and coordinates related U.S. policies and activities. Leaders from 18 U.S. agencies and departments participated in the meeting.
“Borders divide, customs connects,” said Mikuriya, whose priorities include promoting trade facilitation, confronting risk areas (narcotics, intellectual property rights, strategic trade, environmental crime, and revenue-related crime), and continuing to advance the WCO strategic plan’s four key areas: economic competitiveness, revenue, compliance and enforcement, and organizational development.
Mikuriya highlighted U.S. contributions in many WCO areas, including developing the Cargo Targeting System, a common cargo targeting software that collects and analyzes data to target goods moving through the supply chain. He also cited U.S. work on the Compendium of Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures, a guide for customs administrations worldwide to improve their enforcement and seizures practices.
Commissioner Kerlikowske noted that CBP’s work with the WCO, “has contributed to more efficient global customs practices, more secure trade, and greater economic prosperity.” He thanked Mikuriya for his participation in the committee meeting and for continuing to leave such a strong mark on the WCO and the global customs community.
“We appreciate your [U.S.] support and look forward to your cooperation in upcoming initiatives,” Mikuriya said. He added that the Interagency Committee on WCO matters is coordinated border management in practice – the international equivalent to the U.S. One Government at the Border effort – and an excellent example that he would share with the other WCO members.
After his remarks, Mikuriya joined the participants in an active dialogue on issues including single window development (the U.S. example is the Automated Commercial Environment, or ACE), environmental impacts (including the illegal wildlife trade and health and safety issues), trade recovery (or the resumption of trade after a disaster), investigations, and private sector partnership.
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.