POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – The World Customs Organization (WCO) recently celebrated International Customs Day. WCO officially launched the theme of the year: “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport.”
The WCO says that we are living in a time when the number of passengers and the volume of freight crossing borders is expected to increase exponentially, and technology has transformed the economic landscape in which Customs is evolving, WCO Members were encouraged to look at how they can best ensure the swift and smooth cross-border movement of goods, people and means of transport.
Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Monday that Customs perform a very important role in the Sint Maarten society where it concerns the protecting the borders of the country.
“I echo the words of WCO Secretary General (SG) Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, who said that today’s Customs are here to ensure a secure, measurable, automated, risk-management-based and technology-driven environment with a view to creating conditions conducive to securing trade, travel and transport across borders.
“The messaged was also conveyed by the SG to promote the theme of SMART borders by sharing best practices amongst Customs administrations.
“I can say that the Ministry of Justice has been proactive where seeking and sharing best practices in this area is concerned. We can look at the Kingdom cooperation between the countries (the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao), the current direct assistance from the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security and the cooperation that exist with our partners from French St. Martin.
“We will continue these forms of cooperation, assistance and working together to promote secure borders, trade, travel and transport. The cooperation has been excellent, and we must continue to build on those successes by using SMART technologies similar to what Port St. Maarten will be introducing, the ‘Port Community System’,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Monday.
The WCO shared its views recently on how best to deal with some of the current challenges faced by international Customs administrations, such as the rapidly growing trade volumes generated by, for example, e-commerce, and ever-expanding air travel; WCO also conveyed the understanding of what was implied by this year’s theme of “SMART borders”.
This year’s theme also references the role Customs is playing in supporting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by creating transparent and predictable conditions for trade, and facilitating legitimate trade that will contribute to economic growth and job opportunities.
The WCO pointed out that the concept of SMART borders also highlights Customs’ role in supporting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“By creating a level playing field for all stakeholders through simplified, standardized and harmonized procedures, it ensures timely delivery of raw materials to industry, reduces unfair competition in local communities, and opens up opportunities for marginalized communities to access new markets.
“It creates transparent and predictable conditions for trade and facilitates legitimate business that will in turn contribute to economic growth and job opportunities,” the WCO said.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever