The government of Japan has pledged financial support to the World Customs Organisation’s project to improve the capacity of developing countries’ customs administrations respond to the impact of COVID-19.
The World Customs Organisation (WCO) got the pledged during an exchange of notes between the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, and the Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, Makita Shimokawa last week.
The COVID-19 project will develop WCO guidelines for Customs administrations on business continuity and incident response in dealing with various disruptive scenarios represented by COVID-19 and other similar emergency situations on the basis of collected best practices.
The project will also promote relevant WCO instruments and tools, in particular to WCO developing members including Least Developing Countries (LDCs), through various assistance measures as well as national and regional training, considering each country’s individual situation and particular needs.
In order to ensure the timely dissemination of information and expertise, the project will also contribute to further upgrading the dedicated WCO web-site, which compiles information about relevant WCO instruments, tools, initiatives, databases and national practices that can be utilized in the effort to address the various COVID-19-related challenges faced by members and concerned stakeholders.
“During this time of crisis, the Customs administrations around the globe are urged to continue advocating for and realize the facilitation of not just relief supplies but of all goods being traded in order to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mikuriya.
He further added that “the Government of Japan’s support for the COVID-19 Project can ensure that Customs administrations stay operational and are equipped to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our societies and economies.”
Makita Shimokawa stressed that Japan recognizes the criticality of the WCO and Customs administrations in the efforts to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highly appreciated the WCO activities to address this global challenge under the leadership of Secretary General Mikuriya.
He expressed hope that the project would support prompt actions of the WCO to help its member Customs administrations fight the pandemic, while further ensuring a coordinated response and strengthened cooperation, not only with the WCO, but also with its members.