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A. Belyaninov negotiated with WCO Secretary General K. Mikuriya

On January 21, 2008 negotiations between the Russian FCS Head Andrei Belyaninov and the WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya were held in the Federal Customs Service. Kunio Mikuriya arrived in Russia for a three-day visit by invitation of the Russian customs service.

A. Belyaninov thanked the WCO Head for his visit to Russia after his appointment to new position. K. Mikuriya elected as Secretary General of this influential international organization at the WCO session in June 2008, came into office on January 1, 2009.

The Russian FCS Head appreciated K. Mikuriya’s fruitful work as the WCO Deputy Secretary General, which contributed to modernization of customs services of the world’s countries. He also noted that many of K. Mikuriya’s ideas which he voiced at his election coincide with the ideas implemented by the Russian FCS. It is a significant foundation for more fruitful cooperation of the Russian Customs and the WCO.

The foreign visitant was apprised of the Russian customs work, first of all in terms of coordination of activities within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), the Customs Committee of the Allied State and The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). According to A. Belyaninov the work is well-coordinated due to the fact that the negotiations are held in Russian.

Meanwhile the main scope of work on international cooperation falls on bilateral relations between the customs services. The relations are very intensive and seem to be fruitful. For example, last week the delegation of the Russian FCS headed by A. Belyaninov visited China. China proved commitment to closer cooperation with Russia in respect of customs. Moreover the Russian FCS believes that the WCO could be more active in the process if it integrated relationship between national customs administrations.

A. Belyaninov stated that one of the focuses for the WCO could be coordination of work on integration of informational systems, used by customs services of different countries. Russia proved it again during the development of the advance information exchange between the Russian Federation and 12 countries of the European Union project, which lasted 2 years. There is not always a processing capability to efficiently exchange information between customs administrations. Therefore, according to the Russian customs service Head, there is a need of “passepartout”, which would allow customs officers to form common information space and software solution available to everybody. 

Calling to the work activization, the Russian FCS consider it to be voluntary and be available to joining in future for those national customs administrations, which are not yet ready for reforms in this field.
A. Belyaninov highly appreciated cooperation in law enforcement field, close relationship between the service headed by him and the WCO, particularly within the CEN for law enforcement information exchange. Information transfer is provided through 11 regional communications centers (RILO), one of which is in Moscow. The Committee of Law Enforcement Departments Heads of the Board of Customs Services Heads of the CIS, which was headed by Deputy Head of the Russian FCS. 

Moreover according to the Russian FCS there is huge potential for increasing the WCO role in coordination of cooperation between law enforcement departments of customs services of world countries to make this work global.

Appreciating cooperation of the WCO and the Russian FCS a lot, K. Mikuriya pointed to commitment to expansion. So, realizing the need of integration of national automated informational systems, used by customs administrations, the WCO intends to finish the development of customs data model, which could be useful for the solution of the problem, this year.

Speaking of law enforcement activities for customs services coordination, the WCO Secretary General advocated the need of strengthening this work stream of the organization headed by him and expressed his hope for further cooperation with the Russian customs service in this field.

Besides that K. Mikuriya asked the Russian FCS leaders for help in realization of a new project connected with providing technical support to customs services in post-Soviet countries in inspective-search complexes, taking into account Russian expertise in their exploitation.

K. Mikutiya agreed with the opinion of the Russian FCS of the lack of Russian language in the work of WCO and expressed hope, that the Russian party will facilitate the process of expanding list of working languages of the Organization.

Having seen work of the Central Expert-Criminalist Customs Authority, the WCO Secretary General highly appreciated it and proposed to share its experience, including struggle against falsification. A. Belyaninov welcomed the suggestion, particularly because the Russian customs service is recognized the world’s best customs administration in the struggle against falsification in 2007.

For your information

The World Customs Organization (WCO) was established by the Convention on foundation of the Customs Cooperation Council dated December 15, 1950, put in force of November, 4, 1952.

Today the WCO unites 174 countries, including all the CIS countries.  
The Russian Federation being legal successor of international rights and obligations of the USSR has been the WCO member since 1992.

Kunio Mikuriya is the 9th WCO Secretary General since the foundation of the Organization.