Twenty-seven Customs administration leaders are meeting in Port Douglas, Queensland, this week to discuss strategies for improving trade and travel facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Today the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) CEO, Mr Michael Pezzullo, opened the 15th World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia-Pacific Customs Administration Regional Heads Conference, and outlined his intention for ACBPS to set the international pace for customs and border protection related functions.
“ACBPS is committed to creating a more seamless and free-flowing experience for legitimate travellers and traders. We have made significant progress in implementing our reform program and are now revolutionising the way we operate and do business. Our reform program is about modernising all of our systems and processes, and providing easy to use tools including, e-service options, for travellers and traders,” he said.
Australia is hosting the conference for the first time since 2000 and Mr Pezzullo said the conference provides a platform for discussion on key issues facing customs administrations in the Asia-Pacific.
“We share many of the same challenges and this conference provides a great opportunity to exchange points of view, take stock of our current achievements and commit to concrete actions. The growing complexity of supply chains and travel routes and the increasing threat of sophisticated criminal syndicates mean that it has never been more important for us to work together as a region to improve trade and travel facilitation,” he said.
Mr Pezzullo said ACBPS is looking forward to engaging with its Asia-Pacific counterparts on a range of important issues including the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
The WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation was signed in December 2013 and it creates binding commitments to expedite movement, release and clearance of goods, improve cooperation among WTO members on customs matters, and help developing countries meet their obligations.
Mr Pezzullo said Australia is committed to implementing the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and that the conference will provide a platform for discussions on how customs procedures can be simplified and harmonised in the region.
The three day conference will conclude on Friday, 2 May 2014.
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