According to World Customs Organisation (WCO), at the invitation of Malta’s Presidency of EU and of the European Commission, Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General, the WCO attended the High-Level Seminar on Strengthening of Cooperation between Customs and Tax Authorities.

strengthening of cooperation between customs and tax authorities

The event was hosted by the Government of Malta and counted with the participation of Directors General and senior officials of EU Customs and Tax Administrations and invited countries.

The Seminar was opened by the DG of Malta Customs, Mr Joseph Chetcuti, and by the Commissioner for Revenue of Malta, Mr Marvin Gaerty, and received inputs from the DG TAXUD, Mr Stephen Quest, and the Director Phillipe Kermod. The event also counted with the support from Academia that provided different perspectives and possible solutions for the challenges identified.

The WCO Director, Capacity Building, Ernani Checcucci delivered a speech on the importance of Customs and Tax Cooperation in the actual landscape and highlighted the fact that both Administrations face new challenges due to the rapid globalization of trade and financial systems, which brought new expectations from Government and societies in the fight of Illicit Financial Flows, organized crime, and Tax evasion. The Director highlighted the launch and promotion of the Guidelines for Strengthening Cooperation and the Exchange of Information between Customs and Tax Authorities at National Level, the discussions with G20 in the fight against Illicit Financial Flows, and the cooperation with OECD and IMF on relevant topics, such as Customs Valuation and Transfer pricing, Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information, e-commerce, and Performance Measurement.

The participants of the Seminar identified areas for cooperation; proposals for addressing legal gaps hindering efficiency; opportunities for increased facilitation of trade and compliance management; exchange of information and initiatives to combat Tax Fraud, particularly, the ones related to VAT.

Participants agreed to pursue this agenda and to promote more strategic discussions between Customs and Tax Authorities, at National, Regional and EU levels.

The WCO congratulated the organisers for addressing this important agenda and reinforced its commitment to continue working with the EU Members and Commission to identify and share good practices, guidelines, standards and to provide support in the development of Customs and Tax Cooperation.

By M.Hung



The WCO attended a Regional Workshop to assist OCO members with the uniform application and implementation of the Harmonized System (HS) 2017. The Workshop was held in Nadi, Fiji, from 24 to 28 April 2017.

oceania customs organisation acts on implementing hs 2017

It was attended by seventeen Customs officers representing fifteen Customs Administrations of the OCO and was facilitated by experts from the WCO, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), New Zealand Statistics, the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies (CCES – Australia) and the OCO Secretariat.

The main objective of the Workshop was to assist OCO members in the uniformity in the implementation, interpretation, and application of HS 2017. Moreover, it was also aimed at assisting members to implement their obligations under a number of free trade agreements currently under negotiation.

The Workshop was officially opened by Mr. Seve Paeniu, the Head of the Secretariat of the OCO. He highlighted the importance of implementing HS 2017 given a number of international and regional conventions/instruments that are being implemented or currently under negotiation. Mr. Paeniu further highlighted the OCO initiative to build up a pool of regional experts in the Pacific through a long-term capacity development program with the aim to ensure that there is capacity available at the national level to sustain the HS implementation and any subsequent amendments in the future. He also acknowledged the work of the OCO Technical Working Group on HS, a partnership with WCO, SPC and NZ Statistics and the financial assistance provided by Australia and New Zealand to enable the Workshop to occur and to support the implementation of the HS 2017.

The participants noted presentations by the WCO on the HS Convention and HS 2017 amendments including the WCO tools and instruments developed to assist members with the application of the HS and to modernize tariff classification and related infrastructure. The WCO also made presentations on the materials developed under the WCO Revenue Package to respond to the Members’ needs in respect of fair, efficient and effective revenue collection.

Three member countries, Fiji, Vanuatu and Nauru, presented their national experiences on HS 2017 implementation. The key issues that were highlighted in the presentations included the process of adoption of the HS 2017 and this included the need for establishment of a project team, the use of WCO HS 2017 tools, the correlation exercise, drafting of the new tariff, approval process for the legislation and the internal and external awareness of the changes.

The update on the work on Pacific Tariff Framework was provided by SPC (the Secretariat of the Pacific Community) and it was noted that most of the OCO member administrations had not implemented HS 2017 since its effective date on 1 January 2017. To assist members, the Pacific Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (PACHS) 2017 was being developed and would be completed by June 2017.

Throughout the Workshop, the participants discussed key challenges and opportunities regarding their implementation of HS 2017 and shared experiences in improving their classification work and capacity. The participants also developed the OCO Action Plan for implementation of HS 2017 clearly identifying national capacity building needs. As part of members’ capacity building initiative, the participants supported the need to establish the OCO Training of Trainer Programmes aimed at enhancing the delivery techniques of a pool of regional trainers and to prepare them to conduct training within their respective Customs administrations.

The WCO supports the initiatives and is prepared to further assist with the implementation of HS 2017 in the Pacific and to establish a pool of expert trainers in the region.

By M.Hung



VCN- The World Customs Organization (WCO) is pleased to join the international community in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day 2017 under the theme “Innovations – Improving Lives,” as it provides an ideal opportunity to underline Customs’ important role in the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) at borders.

wco acts globally to protect ipr

The WCO also coordinates enforcement operations specifically focusing on IPR infringements.

Faced with intense globalization, international trade and global supply chains are significantly more complex than ever before, posing a constant challenge to Customs authorities around the world as they strive to achieve a balance between regulating and facilitating trade.

Protecting the IPR of goods being shipped globally falls in this category as well: How to protect society from harmful counterfeit goods entering the market whilst not impeding the flow of genuine merchandise? For the WCO, protecting society from counterfeit goods that can lead to severe health and safety issues is, and will remain, high on its agenda.

“Intellectual property is crucial to the growth of our society as it fosters innovation and modernization in countless areas such as medicines, transportation, energy, and ICT to name a few. On this special day, I would like to reaffirm the WCO’s dedication to protecting artistic creation and preserving a vibrant industrial fabric by actively engaging and leading Customs in the global fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya.

Thanks to its exhaustive IPR, Health and Safety Programme, revolving around raising awareness and providing capacity building activities, the WCO dedicates important resources to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy on a yearly basis.

In 2016 alone, the WCO carried out IPR-related capacity building activities in some 62 countries covering all six WCO regions of the world. Further to these workshops, the WCO also coordinated two main enforcement operations in 2016: Seascape and ACIM.

Seascape, an initiative within the Americas region aimed at curbing the counterfeiting trade phenomenon before the inauguration of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, generated significant results in the clothing, accessories and games area, registering a total seizure of 4.6 million articles.

ACIM, which mobilized 16 Customs administrations in the African region to fight against illicit medicines, resulted in the detention of some 129 million articles, most of them illicit pharmaceutical products.

As counterfeiting and piracy grow steadily, the threat it poses to the global economy and to society is also increasing, causing concern to all industry sectors as counterfeit and pirated products are now widespread and contaminate legal markets across the globe.

As Customs administrations are responsible for protecting national borders from the illegal flow of counterfeit and pirated goods, as well as other illicit products, the WCO continues to lead discussions on global efforts to fight such crimes.

By Ha Nhi