ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the World Customs Organization (WCO), led by its Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, called on Federal Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan. The commerce minister welcomed the delegation.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issues of bilateral interest including technical assistance with regard to counterterrorism and supply chain security, trade facilitation and economic competitiveness, emerging challenges to customs, Illicit financial flows and customs reform and modernization.
Speaking on the occasion, the honourable commerce minister said that as per vision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, we are making an effort to increase our transit trade area to Central Asian Republics (CARs) and will welcome and appreciate some degree of necessary support from the WCO to help either draft a new agreement or form some guidelines so that goods can move across these borders more efficiently.
Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan informed the delegation that Pakistan has become a member of the TIR convention and it is still in the implementation stage but there is a need to merge it with the Transit Trade Agreement to facilitate the movement of goods. The minister further said Pakistan is already a signatory to the TFA and is working with all its neighbours for regularization of trade, minimizing tariffs and removing the non-tariff barriers.
The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952, represents 182 Customs administrations around the world (including Pakistan Customs) that collectively processes 98% of World Trade. It provides an important forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between the national customs delegates as well as technical assistance and training services.
The customs administration fights fraudulent activities and actively supports its endeavours at modernizing and building capacity with its national customs administration. Pakistan Customs is already part of several WCO initiatives including its Program Global Shield (PGS) and Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Program under which Pakistani officers have received extensive trainings.
Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya said the WCO will provide its support to Pakistan in regularization of trade and also suggested that Pakistan recuperate its ‘trade relations’ with all its neighbour countries, particularly Afghanistan, to play a more significant role in the corridor. The secretary general also said the WCO will provide support to Pakistan in harmonizing customs data for fast information sharing to ensure speedy movement of goods across the borders.
Khurram Dastgir Khan suggested that further meetings will discuss the transit trade, tariff duties, harmonizing of customs data and installing a system to evaluate the quantum of smuggling.