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Rise Up To Global Challenges, Threats Across All Our Borders, Customs Meeting Here Urged

There is a need for the Asia Pacific countries to rise up and face the unprecedented global challenges and threats across all our borders, which is expected to continue to
12 Nov 2016 11:35
Rise Up To Global Challenges, Threats Across All Our Borders, Customs Meeting Here Urged

There is a need for the Asia Pacific countries to rise up and face the unprecedented global challenges and threats across all our borders, which is expected to continue to evolve over time.

These challenges and threats require us, as guardians of our national borders, to work smarter, forge strategic alliances and more importantly, protect our economies, environment and people.

This was stressed by the Permanent Secretary for Economy Makereta Konrote at the opening of the 26th World Customs Organisation (WCO) Asia Pacific Regional Contact Point Meeting in Sigatoka this week.

“While we all have our national interests, regional platforms such as the WCO Asia Pacific not only provides opportunities but allows us to create greater synergies,” she said.

“This is in operations, security, and trade and travel facilitation, that particularly benefit small Customs Administrations like Fiji.

“Small Island States are no doubt more vulnerable to global shocks due to its narrow base economic structures, difficulty in achieving economies of scale, and distance from trading partners.”

She said such attributes naturally limit our ability to effectively compete in global markets.

According to Ms Konrote, technical improvements and reforms to Customs processes can alleviate some of these inherent difficulties.

“In the case of Fiji, these are reforms that the Fijian Government through the Ministry of Economy is supporting the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority to undertake,” she said.

Ms Konrote acknowledging the critical role of front-line customs officials said like other economies in the region, fiscal and excise revenue collections are important sources of income for the Fijian Government.

This she said is in respect of development of infrastructure and other essential Government services.

The WCO Asia Pacific vice chair and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority chief executive Visvanath Das highlighted the need for simplification and harmonisation of Customs’ laws, processes and information system.

Mr Das, who is also chairing the meeting, said this is to ensure loopholes that lead to revenue leakages are minimised, and trade is facilitated effectively.

“This type of meetings gives us an opportunity to encourage co-operation and mutual assistance from other Customs organisations across Asia Pacific Region. It will in turn assist us in capacity building and betting management of our resources,” he said.

“We, the Customs Administrations in the Asia Pacific Region believe that the generic issues in region can be effectively addressed through greater cooperation amongst Customs administrations.”

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