The Enforcement Committee of the World Customs Organization met in Brussels recently to confer on a range of trade compliance-related topics under the theme “Customs Enforcement: Completing the Cycle.” Attending the meeting were representatives from Customs administrations, international organizations such as Frontex, INTERPOL, UNODC, other United Nations bodies, and the advisory group Global Financial Integrity participating.
In his opening address, WCO Secretary General Mr. Kunio Mikuriya underlined the importance of ensuring secure and safe supply chains through effective and targeted enforcement actions. In particular, he emphasized how vital Coordinated Border Management is in achieving these objectives and encouraged members to address compliance issues from a more holistic perspective.
The committee endorsed a number of enforcement-related items, and took note of the excellent results achieved by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Program (CCP), which it is looking to carry over as the program expands into the air cargo domain through the establishment of Air Cargo Control Units. Members also supported a proposal to conduct two global and regional operations in the second half of 2015 as part of the Drugs and Precursors Program.
Within the framework of the Environmental Program, in addition to the on-going initiatives, the committee discussed the illegal trade in pesticides and directed the WCO to consider this topic as one of the potential areas for future operational activities.
In terms of revenue assurance, members endorsed the proposal to conduct a second global Customs-centric operation focusing on illicit trade in tobacco products. Additionally, the Committee supported the establishment of the Global Trade Enforcement Network (GTEN) to exchange information and intelligence to combat commercial fraud.
In the area of emerging risks, the committee discussed the dark side of e-commerce and discussed Customs’ role in targeting internet-based networks exploited by criminals including illicit trade and money laundering. The committee also discussed the challenges posed by crypto currencies such as bitcoins as an illicit form of payment.