WCO Small Island Economies (SIE) Workshop
A World Customs Organisation (WCO) Sub-Regional workshop on Small Island Economies (SIE) for the Pacific Islands commenced yesterday at the Regional Training Centre in Nasese.
WCO experts are in the country to conduct this workshop.
The workshop will be held from 10th – 14th September 2019 with Customs administration participants from Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, Maldives, Guam, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Timor Leste, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island.
“The aim of this workshop is to enable participants to come up with measures to assist Small Island Economies to strengthen risk management, trade and travel facilitation and revenue collection,” Fiji Revenue and Customs Service Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Visvanath Das said.
“Small Island Countries have always been vulnerable to illicit trafficking and organized crimes at the borders and it is this kind of workshops that brings us together to focus on challenges faced by Customs Administrations and discuss how we can address these challenges,” Mr. Das said.
Mr. Das stressed there is a need for Customs administration in the Pacific to enhance cooperation.
“No doubt the WCO diagnostic tools have been instrumental in addressing Customs Administrative issues over the years, however, there is a need for regional cooperation and enhanced support to achieve the 2019 WCO theme: SMART Borders for Seamless Trade, Travel and Transport,” Mr. Das said.
“Pacific Island Countries should continue to collaborate to improve border management. Improved border management will contribute to economic growth including the facilitation of legitimate trade and border security,” he said.
“The WCO member countries have made a commitment to adopt International Standards and to share best practices. This approach will not only curb criminal activities but also enhance investment and trade for economic prosperity,” he added.
Head of Regional Asia Pacific Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto expressed similar sentiments.
“This workshop will help understand the WCO instruments in applying for trade facilitation and overall enhancement of competence to combat illegal trade in island situations and to identify the gaps,” he said.
Mr. Kuramoto assured that ROCB is fully committed to assist SIEs and provide capacity building trainings to support the Pacific economies.
WCO Facilitator, Ms. Sharon Davies the overall aim of the workshop is to discuss and suggest potential measures in order to assist SIEs and integrating global supply chain while strengthening capabilities in trade facilitation, risk management, security and revenue collection.
“This workshop will also provide a platform to seek input in practical experiences for the participants concerning the development of the WCO guidance with Customs administrations and SIEs,” Ms. Davies said.
The workshop will conclude this Saturday.