First Event of World Customs Organization in the Middle East Gets Underway at Atlantis – The Palm
Dubai-UAE: 15 May, 2013 - The 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition themed ‘Effective Solutions for Coordinated Border Management' got underway yesterday in Dubai, featuring keynote addresses by leading representatives of key borders and ports organizations worldwide.
Philippe Amon, Chairman and CEO, SICPA, opened the session of keynote speeches. He was followed by Juma Al Ghaith, Executive Director, Customs Development at Dubai Customs, and John E. Scanlon, Secretary General, CITES.
Conference Chair Susanne Aigner, Deputy Director of Compliance and Facilities Department, World Customs Organization, also delivered her address as part of the session.
Offering the Dubai Customs perspective, Al Ghaith elaborated on the organization's pioneering experience in the development of the customs sector and the commitment of the UAE government in keeping up with industry developments to enable the safety of borders and ensure the quality of trade.
He said: “We have come up with a simple concept of border management which addresses the dual need for security and risk management. The concept includes four-factor formula at the borders, namely communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration. In order to achieve these objectives, we focus on three very important resources – people, processes and technology.'
Al Ghaith also detailed techniques used by Dubai Customs in the management of borders and ports, saying: 'We have successfully deployed state-of-the-art container scanners and are currently in the process of acquiring four more in the coming year. We are keen to use the best practices and the latest technologies to better protect the UAE's borders.”
Underlining the role cutting-edge technology can play in facilitating global trade, Amon said: “The mission of customs is three-fold – border control which includes combating counterfeiting, facilitating global trade, and collecting excise and custom taxes. However, the three missions are not always aligned and the key to resolving this contradiction is to establish trust between various stakeholders – this will facilitate faster and smoother global trade; and deploying seamless technology is crucial in this regard.”
He continued: “While prioritizing global trade, attention must also be paid to investing in technologies that ensure security. In the long run, winning the battle against counterfeiting and piracy demands a change of stakeholder mindsets, supported by a battery of new concepts and technologies to complement them.”
J. Scanlon highlighted the role of advancing customs technologies can play towards checking illegal trade of endangered species.
He said: “The illegal trading of wildlife not only poses an immediate risk to the survival of the species but also to the people serving in the frontlines to protect our wildlife. This criminal activity can also pose a serious threat to social and economic stability as well as national security; it is quite literally robbing countries of their natural resources and of their cultural heritage.
“In addressing these challenges, it is apparent that CITES and the WCO share common objectives - facilitating legal and sustainable trade while ensuring that illicit trade can be identified, intercepted and responded to effectively.”
Emphasizing the importance of identifying and deploying innovative technology to support the vital customs function in regulating wildlife trade, Scanlon added: “We hope that the collaboration between CITES and the WCO will enable customs officials to access more secure systems and superior identification tools, and maximize their ability to track and contain the complete international trade supply chain related to endangered species.”
Held at the Atlantis – The Palm, the two-day conference is focusing on sharing views, experiences and best practices between global border security agents and other government entities such as customs, environment ministries, municipalities, health authorities, and immigration. It also seeks to broaden communication channels between stakeholders to help maintain safer economies and societies.
The event has brought together over 1,000 senior decision makers representing the World Customs Organization and customs departments of more than 100 countries, including specialists in customs, security and information technology. The forum's agenda includes discussion topics related to customs operations such as control and inspection systems, as well as transport and logistics.