Awareness Raising and Customs-Business Forum in Togo
The Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, visited Lomé, Togo from 30-31 May 2012 to attend the AEO Awareness Raising and Customs-Business Forum at the invitation of the Director General of Togo Customs, Kodjo Adedze. The event was organized by Togo Customs in cooperation with the Togo Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the support of Belgian Customs.
As this Forum was the first to raise awareness about AEO programmes in the region, Directors General of Customs from neighbouring countries and their representatives also participated. The meeting produced a Declaration of Intent for a Customs-Private Sector Partnership signed by the Heads of Togo Customs, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Council of Patrons.
Secretary General Mikuriya spoke about partnerships with business which were the cornerstone of a modern Customs administration and supported the risk management approach to facilitate and secure global trade.
At the end of Forum he suggested that while the event marked a good start for establishing Customs-business Partnerships, both sides should take a progressive approach to nurture working relationships based on trust and global standards, as this would pave the way for introducing an AEO programme.
The Secretary General also appreciated the participation of other Customs administrations from West Africa as this would help develop national AEO programmes in a consistent manner and form a basis for future Mutual Recognition.
Whilst in Togo, the Secretary General met the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe. He used this opportunity to emphasize the necessity for Togo to continue its Customs reform programme based on a partnership with the private sector, otherwise business would suffer from a lack of economic competitiveness. He also underlined the importance of regional integration and the work of the WCO in this regard.