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NZ Nominated To Regional Customs Leadership Role

April 11 2002

The New Zealand Customs Service is set to become the next leader of the Asia Pacific region of the World Customs Organisation.

The 26 Asia Pacific region members unanimously nominated New Zealand as the next Asia Pacific Vice Chair, at a meeting in Hong Kong today. The position will be confirmed when the World Customs Organisation Council meets in June.

New Zealand Comptroller of Customs, Robin Dare, says the nomination reflects the regard in which New Zealand is held in the region.

“The New Zealand Customs Service is seen as having valuable experience and expertise.

“Customs business is international by nature and the Asia Pacific region is our front yard. We welcome the opportunity to work in a leadership role in the World Customs Organisation.

“The role of Vice Chair involves bringing together regional responses to issues, and coordinating assistance between members. This will assist the customs administrations in the region to develop further efficiency and effectiveness in the areas of trade and security.

“More consistency in border controls will benefit regional trade. There are also significant security benefits in having the region’s customs administrations sharing information and working closely together to combat trans-national crime. This has been particularly evident in recent months in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

Robin Dare says the New Zealand Customs Service is also seen as a leader internationally in the area of integrity.

“We define integrity as more than an absence of corruption. It is a core value that pervades everything we do.”

The New Zealand Customs Service has involved staff at all levels in developing an understanding of integrity at both a personal and organisational level.

“We are getting a lot of interest from other customs administrations in what we are doing, and we are pleased to assist them in fronting up to some very difficult issues.”

Robin Dare says there is a great deal of institutional knowledge and many innovative ideas within customs administrations in the region.

“During New Zealand’s two year term as Vice-chair we will be drawing on that as we seek to improve cooperation and mutual support throughout the region.”

(background information follows)

World Customs Organisation background

- The World Customs Organisation (WCO) is an independent, intergovernmental, worldwide body competent in Customs matters and has a mission to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. It has 160 members world wide, divided into six regions. The WCO is based in Brussels and marks its 50th anniversary this year.

- The WCO is directed by the Policy Commission. The 24 members of the policy commission include the six regional Vice Chairs.

- The members of the Asia Pacific Region are: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Macao China, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and

Viet Nam.

- New Zealand has been nominated for the position of Asia Pacific Vice Chair at the regional conference of Heads of Administrations, held in Hong Kong. The nomination will be confirmed at the WCO Annual Council Session in Brussels in June.

- New Zealand will hold the post of Vice Chair for two years.

- New Zealand has twice previously chaired the World Customs Organisation: 1979-80 (Comptroller Jack Kean) and 1996-97 (Comptroller Graeme Ludlow). However New Zealand has not previously held the post of Vice Chair.

Background on New Zealand Customs training and technical assistance

- The New Zealand Customs Service provides training and technical assistance to customs administrations throughout the Asia Pacific region and in Africa.

- The New Zealand Customs Service contributed to the United Nations-led programme in East Timor through the deployment of staff to assist in the re-establishment of East Timor’s border control systems and subsequently in the areas of training and capacity building.

- Under the APEC umbrella, New Zealand has provided technical assistance to Customs administrations in a number of APEC members including Viet Nam, Peru, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

- New Zealand Customs is also providing training to some ASEAN members including Myanmar and Cambodia as part of New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme administered by MFAT.

Bilateral agreements

- New Zealand Customs has bilateral agreements with Customs administrations in Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Chile, Canada, Hong Kong-China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Korea.


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