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International Customs Day

MEDIA RELEASE
29 January, 2001 01:06

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS DAY

Senior Government officials and Embassy representatives are among the 60 dignitaries and guests who have gathered at Customhouse in Wellington to celebrate International Customs Day.

Comptroller of Customs Robin Dare says International Customs Day is an opportunity to outline the main priorities of the World Customs Organisation [WCO], and to focus on a wide variety of issues, such as Customs Modernisation, Integrity, the global movement of illicit drugs, firearms, pornography and the illegal trade in wildlife and endangered species.

“More than 150 WCO members participate in this annual event to make the public aware of the essential role that Customs administrations play in the context of trade globalisation. Collectively, these Members are responsible for administering over 95% of the world’s trade,” Mr Dare said.

“Trade globalisation requires the preparation of international conventions. The WCO has made its contribution in the customs field with a view to making customs regulations, practices and standards, easier for international trade operators to understand. A harmonised level of customs service is highly desirable, for facilitating trade [import/export] in an open environment.”

“The introduction of selected checks on flows of goods helps protect companies and individuals involved in trade. Targeted checks on individuals can reveal crimes involving prohibited goods, narcotic drugs, and money laundering. Organised crime can endanger health, the environment, the safety of individuals, and companies that trade legitimately across our borders.”

“The New Zealand Customs Service is recognised by the WCO as being among the world’s leading Customs administrations, and our international achievements and contributions have provided the Customs world with an extremely valuable model. We are immensely proud of that acknowledgement.”

“New Zealand has regularly provided experts for core development and WCO work programmes, as well as technical assistance to developing nations. Its willingness to assist is highly valued among the lesser developed members of the WCO. Our International contributions currently include East Timor, Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Yemen and Albania,” Mr Dare said.

International Customs Day had its origins on 26 January 1953 when the inaugural meeting of the Customs Co-operation Council was held in Brussels the Belgian capital. The Council consisted of 17 members with a brief to examine Customs procedures and make proposals to simplify and harmonise these procedures. To reflect its truly global nature the Council changed its name in 1994 to the World Customs Organisation.

ENDS

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