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New Zealand marks International Customs Day

26 January 2006

New Zealand marks International Customs Day

New Zealand Customs Service and its international counterparts mark a key date on their calendars today - International Customs Day.

‘Safer world trade through security and facilitation’ is the theme for International Customs Day, which will be celebrated by 169 Customs administrations and members of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), including New Zealand.

“For us it’s an opportunity to recognise the important role we play internationally in fostering legitimate trade by efficient and secure border regulation,” says New Zealand Customs Service Comptroller of Customs, Martyn Dunne.

“It’s also an occasion to acknowledge those who we work with daily to enhance trade, including New Zealand Government agencies and organisations, the business sector, and international customs administrations.”

New Zealand has been a member of the WCO since 1963 and actively engages with it at a number of levels, including global technical developments and enforcement trends. The date of January 26 refers to an established practice of the Customs community to celebrate International Customs Day.

This year's theme refers to the unanimous adoption by the WCO Council of its Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitated Global Trade.

“As part of our commitment to safer trade, we and other Customs administrations last year signed up to the framework which will usher in a safer world trade regime and provide a structured platform to facilitate the movement of goods,” says Mr Dunne.

All Customs administrations are responding to increasing risk. In recent years the New Zealand Government has made significant investments here to develop an overall security strategy that covers trade, travel and border enforcement.

"We've implemented a secure export scheme with business which 94 New Zealand exporters have joined to date and are working with us to ensure their export supply chains are secure," says Mr Dunne.

"Our supply chain security strategy with the United States has provided greater security for goods exported from New Zealand going through or to the US. The US has described this strategy as 'world leading'. At a recent meeting with the WCO Secretary General, the Asia Pacific region was described as the most dynamic on a broad range of Customs issues, and that the two countries driving it are Australia and New Zealand.

"We can have confidence in the safety of our trade and travel channels but there is always a need for vigilance and innovation at the border to ensure ongoing facilitation."

To enhance vital links in the chain of secure trade and borders, New Zealand Customs Service recently increased its international posts, opening offices in China and Washington D.C. The Service is also strengthening Customs support in the Pacific region by sponsoring the establishment of the OCO in Fiji, and posting a senior officer to assist with capacity building of the Tonga Customs Service.

As part of International Customs Day, Mr Dunne presented the Comptroller's Award to the Service's Applications Development Team in recognition of its outstanding contributions to the Service's outcomes of border security, community protection, revenue and trade support.

The team designed and implemented a number of information systems' projects that have strengthened the effectiveness of New Zealand's border protection.

Background to International Customs Day:

The date of January 26 refers to an established practice of the Customs community to celebrate International Customs Day.

There are three reasons for having an International Customs Day. The first is historical, as customs is one of the oldest institutions in the world.

Secondly, customs is part of the globalisation process that enables citizens from throughout the world to travel and discover the planet. Each year there are hundreds of millions of travellers. Globalisation and liberalisation of trade form the credo of economies and customs administrations have to adapt to this new environment.

Thirdly, customs administrations worldwide face, and solve, a certain number of challenges. These include issues such as ensuring the smooth and rapid movement of goods and travellers, while carrying out necessary controls to ensure security, and adapting to electronic commerce while being alert to the growth in cyber crime.


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