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Pacific Customs Administrations Celebrate International Customs Day

As countries emerge from the coronavirus crisis, Customs administrations in the Pacific should be commended for their tireless efforts in protecting their borders as well as ensuring that trade is continued in the region, Oceania Customs Organisation Head of Secretariat, Richard Brennan says.

OCO and its 23 members joined the world in celebrating International Customs Day on January 26, which has been dedicated to “the efforts of customs officers to support people and businesses by strengthening the global supply chain, reinforcing collaboration, harnessing technology and putting “people” at the centre of the transformation process.

“When we celebrated International Customs Day last year, we did not envisage our world changing so much because of COVID-19. Now that we have vaccines, most countries will begin their recovery paths this year and the International Customs Day slogan “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain” sums up the demand on Customs administrations,” Mr. Brennan says.

“E-commerce is now more of a reality for our members than it was a year ago and with that comes the challenge of using non-intrusive methods of detection in cargo security. COVID-19 has forced some of our organisations to move towards digital transformation earlier than planned. Particularly in on line learning. While borders will re-open gradually in 2021 as vaccines are delivered across the Pacific, Customs administrations in the Pacific will still need to ensure that people are safe from contracting the virus,” he added.

OCO members will also need to adapt to the “new normal” of Customs operations such as-all-digital and paperless clearance methods and the use of technology to improve processes as these mechanics evolve. To that end “the OCO has been working with our members, focusing on technical skills for Customs Officers whilst working towards the long-awaited roll out of ASYCUDA customs database into small island states with our partners UNCTAD,” Mr. Brennan says.

“This will see our members embrace supply chain security through use of the Safer framework of standards and Authorised Economic Operator models from the World Customs Organisation and shift to the use of intelligence driven cargo automation through risk managed approaches to trade facilitation, and greater collaboration between border agencies and businesses to drive our economies.” By working smarter and more collaboratively, we can ensure a stronger, secure and more prosperous Blue Pacific.

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