• HH Saif Bin Zayed: 'The UAE Government is committed to keeping its borders open and secure while engaging in robust trade'
• Ahmed Butti Ahmed: 'The conference is a chance to establish a new global system for coordinated border management.”
• Kunio Mikuriya: “The UAE is a shining example of global best practices in customs and border management.”
Dubai-UAE: 14 May, 2013 - His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, today inaugurated the 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition themed ‘Effective Solutions for Coordinated Border Management', in the presence and participation of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Interior Minister, Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization.
The inauguration of the first-ever World Customs Organization event in the Middle East took place amidst an august assembly of more than 1,000 local, regional and international dignitaries, including specialists in customs, security technologies and information technology from more than 100 countries, as well as a number of representatives of various media organizations from all over the world.
During the official speech of the UAE, HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed the assembly and said: 'The UAE is proud to host this landmark forum that aims to increase international cooperation and coordination, which are crucial imperatives if we are to advance global trade and tourism. The UAE Government has maintained keen interest in the facilitation of cross-border trade, and we are committed to enhancing communication between various stakeholders to elevate this important sector.
“As the conference's theme indicates, the adoption of communications technology is the key enabler for every customs departments to achieve its goals of trade facilitation and security. The UAE's success as a hub for global trade and tourism is also testimony to the implementation of an effective customs strategy matched by effective solutions.'
The opening speeches of the conference also featured an address by His Excellency Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, and Director General of Dubai Customs. Welcoming the gathering, he outlined the main objective of the forum, saying: 'We are confident that the conference will prove favorable for the vibrant exchange of ideas and experiences from around the world to set up a new global system for coordinated border management. It is vital that we take international collaboration in this area to a new level, which speaks to the objectives of the World Customs Organization and serves the interests of the international community at the same time.'
In his address to the esteemed audience, Kunio Mikuriya thanked the governments of the UAE and Dubai for the “excellent organization and warm hospitality”. He said: 'The theme of this conference is very appropriate as connectivity at borders is integral to the vision and mission of the WCO. It is aligned to the organization's 2013 slogan: ‘Borders divide, customs connect'. Such an effective network of connectivity between trading countries can be accomplished through positive engagement that will enhance trust and understanding between all stakeholders. Moreover, the adoption of new and innovative techniques is also a major facilitator towards greater cross-border coordination and cooperation.”
Underlining the significance of the event in promoting trade around the globe, Mikuriya said: “We are united by a common goal, which is to increase cooperation. This will, in turn, stimulate the global supply chain and help improve the security of all our borders. The outcomes will benefit the world economy by promoting commercial development, competiveness and employment. Implementation of the ‘single window' concept at borders, in particular, can greatly enhance collaboration between several stakeholders who work together at the borders – customs authorities, government organizations, trading entities and service providers.”
The inaugural ceremony included a tour of the 2013 WCO exhibition, led by His Highness Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The entourage was briefed on the latest technology and innovations in the field of monitoring and inspection, which included techniques, programs, management applications, as well as customs and ports supporting solutions.
The opening ceremony was attended by His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD), leading officials from the Ministry of Interior, Dubai Customs, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), the Dubai Airport Authority and Dubai Cargo Village, in addition to directors and officials of various government departments in Dubai.
The conference sessions will feature more than 70 speakers comprising key office bearers, leaders, decision-makers and experts in the field of customs management in the region and around the world. These include His Excellency Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Raymond Benjamin, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, John Scanlon, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Juma Al Ghaith, Executive Director of Customs Development at Dubai Customs, and Mohammed al Heef, Director of Customs Union in the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Organized by Dubai Customs, the 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition will feature three panel discussions, three lectures and and three specialized technical seminars. Discussions will focus on ways to facilitate legitimate trade to protect the security of borders, ports and customs coordination between countries. Related topics such as customs inspection, control systems, technical solutions and customs partner activities in trade, transport and logistics supply services will also be examined.