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WCO Passenger Control Workshop to strengthen security

06th August, 2018

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (Revenue and Customs) in collaboration with World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Japan Customs is conducting a four-day WCO Sub-Regional workshop on Passenger Control.

The workshop is currently underway at the WCO Regional Training Centre at Revenue and Customs Complex from 6-9 August, 2018.

A total of 16 participants from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Mongolia including Customs Officers from Revenue and Customs will be learning about passenger control and security challenges from WCO, Australia Border Force and New Zealand Customs experts.

This workshop is part of WCO’s Asia/Pacific Security Project, which was launched in March 2017 in Bangkok.

While opening the workshop this morning, Revenue and Customs Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Visvanath Das stressed the need to collaborate with WCO members to strengthen passenger controls and security.

“Passenger Controls is a security challenge. The ideal would be one where a coordinated approach and an effective risk analysis and targeting approach is utilized thorough the use of advanced passenger information. But we all know that the reality on the ground is different – we all face difficulties/challenges in achieving this. Nevertheless, we know that a coordinated border approaches can turn these challenges into opportunities creating win-win for all parties,” Mr. Das said.

“Asia and the Pacific region have become the centre of global attention due to being the powerhouse for rapid global economic growth in the more recent times – in terms of trade flows, illicit financial flows, drugs and people flows,” he said.

“Together with the rapid economic growth and explosion of travel and tourism, passenger controls have become a topic of pertinence for many customs administrations. The refugee crisis and conflict and terrorism activity in some parts of the world have also triggered a need to prioritize the passenger control processes and systems we have in place,” he added.

Mr. Das said effective border mechanisms against potentially dangerous persons can be greatly assisted by co-operation between Customs administrations and other competent border control agencies at the national and international levels, and that exchange of information can significantly aid risk assessment and targeting and, as a consequence, improve the facilitation of legitimate travel.

“The clearances at border crossings can be expedited if the interventions are based on an integrated risk management framework which addresses the concern of all the agencies at the border,” he said. 

“The proper balance between the needs of Customs enforcement and the facilitation of legitimate travel can only be achieved if Customs enforcement is intel and risk based,” he said.

Mr. Das urged all participants to learn as much as they could from the workshop and apply the same to their respective customs administrations.

“The safety and security of our nations and our people are in our hands – so we need to enhance our capability and competency – and this workshop provides an opportunity to do so,” he said.

Japan Customs Deputy Director Customs and Tariff Bureau, Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto expressed similar sentiments.

“We are gathered here to talk about passenger control which is the key component of the WCO security project. The WCO experts from Australian Border Force and New Zealand will share a good deal of the know-how and good practice. Let us learn, exchange views and connect with each other and take advantage of this golden opportunity,” Mr. Kuramoto said.

“We implemented the WCO security project in the Asia-Pacific region last year. We keep ourselves committed to the program and contribute to the regional wide air force to bring better security,” he said.

WCO Facilitator from Brussels, Mr. Wesley Ferris commended Fiji Revenue & Customs training room facilities provided for the workshop and looks forward to interacting with the participants.

The workshop will end on Thursday 9th August.   

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