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New Zealand Customs Hosts International Gathering


New Zealand Customs Hosts International Gathering

New Zealand is welcoming delegates from 22 Asia Pacific Customs administrations to a meeting in Auckland this week.

New Zealand is currently the chair of the Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation and is hosting the annual Regional Contact Points meeting. (Background information attached).

New Zealand Comptroller of Customs Robin Dare says this meeting is part of ongoing efforts by Customs administrations to work together to contribute to a secure neighbourhood and improve the trading environment for business.

“The increased international terrorist threat, highlighted by the recent attack in Bali, makes international communication and cooperation particularly important,” says Robin Dare.

Internationally, the International Maritime Organisation has agreed to work with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to develop an international plan to secure containerised cargo; the G-8 (Group of Industrialised Nations) has endorsed a proposal to enhance transport security, particularly container traffic; and the WCO’s 161 members have agreed unanimously to a series of steps to protect the international supply chain from acts of terrorism or other criminal activity, while ensuring continued improvements in trade facilitation.

“This week’s Asia Pacific meeting is an opportunity to discuss the implications for our neighbourhood.”

Robin Dare says another important issue for the meeting will be capacity building – assisting all Customs administrations to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

“Assisting our trading partners with development so that Customs policies and procedures are harmonised, will benefit New Zealand traders. As Regional Vice Chair, New Zealand wants to facilitate the sharing of information, training and technical assistance across the region.”

Delegates will be welcomed with a powhiri from New Zealand Customs staff in Auckland tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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 over 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 28 members of the Asia Pacific Region are: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, 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, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.

New Zealand was elected to the post of Asia Pacific Vice Chair in June this year, and holds the post for two years.

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.

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 Assistance programme NZAid.


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