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          ICC and WCO Secretaries General meet in Brussels to talk business and customs

          • Brussels, 12 January 2015

          International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Danilovich met with World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya at WCO Headquarters in Brussels earlier this week to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the world business community and Customs to facilitate cross-border trade.

          ICC and WCO Secretaries General meet in Brussels to talk business and customs

          Joined by Norman Shenk, Chair of the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation and UPS Vice-President of Global Customs Policy and Public Affairs, Mr Danilovich highlighted the role of the ICC World Chambers Federation in co-administering the ATA Carnet System and cooperating with Customs in the area of Certificates of Origin, as well as through ICC's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative to stop counterfeited goods at borders and prevent free trade zones becoming hotspots for illicit trade and organized crime groups.

          Discussions also included specific challenges that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) encounter when trading across borders, customs valuation ceilings for goods known as de minimis , rules of origin and the increasing importance of e-commerce and global value chains.

          Given that the agreement deals almost entirely with Customs-related topics, trade ministries, Customs and business must all be involved at country-level to ensure the TFA's successful implementation.

          Thanking Mr Mikuriya for making the customs-business cooperation a priority, Mr Danilovich also reaffirmed ICC's ongoing support for the WCO's work on trade facilitation and in particular for the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that aims to enhance trade flows. "Given that the agreement deals almost entirely with Customs-related topics, trade ministries, Customs and business must all be involved at country-level to ensure the TFA's successful implementation," Mr Danilovich said.

          Through the Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, ICC is actively engaged in the WCO Working Group on the implementation of the TFA. Under the chairmanship of Mr Schenk, the commission provides strategic advice and expertise, namely on Authorized Economic Operator Programmes, and a number of technical issues such as Customs Classification (in the WCO Harmonized System Committee) and on Customs Valuation (in the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation).

          In line with a longstanding relationship dating back to when the WCO was created in the 1950s, both organizations concluded the meeting by reaffirming support for the modernization of Customs as a core means of enhancing the supply chain and economic competitiveness. Mr Mikuriya has emphasized on many occasions that Customs and business are natural allies in trade facilitation and will be a keynote speaker at the Customs and Trade Facilitation Symposium, hosted by ICC and the United States Council for International Business (ICC USA), to take place in Miami next month.

          The ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation has approximately 250 members from close to 50 countries. Commission members comprise Customs representatives, transport and logistics specialists from ICC member companies and business representative organizations.

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