The Director General of the Customs Administration of the Republic of Macedonia attended the 129th / 130th Session of the Customs Cooperation Council within the World Customs Organization (WCO), which was held from 6 until 8th July 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. 

This year, the World Customs Organization marked 65 years of its establishment. In his address on this occasion, the Secretary General of the WCO Mr. Kunio Mikuriya noted that since the 17 member countries who attended the inaugural session in 1953, the WCO has grown into an organization with over 180 member states in 2017, becoming a global center of expertise of Customs and an important factor in the global trade.

The delegates discussed the strategic goals of the Organization, including: promoting security and facilitation of international trade, including simplification and harmonization of customs procedures, promoting a fair, efficient and effective collection of public revenues, protecting the society, the health and life of people, contribution to the fight against crime and terrorism, promotion of digital customs, especially to support coordinated border management, capacity building of customs administrations, strengthening of the cooperation between Customs, Tax and other government institutions, as well as cooperation with bilateral and international institutions.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the EU accession to the WCO, Mr. Pierre Moskovich, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxes and Customs of the European Union, addressed the delegates at the session. The EU Commissioner spoke about the future of the Customs Union, with particular emphasis on e-commerce, the Union's Customs Code, digital customs and security, including current and future anti-terrorism initiatives, as well as the situation with regard to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

During the session, Mr. Enrique Canon, Director General of Uruguay Customs, was elected new Chairman of the Customs Co-operation Council, and the Secretary General of the WCO signed Memoranda of Cooperation with the Customs of Mexico for the establishment of a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory in Mexico, with the Turkish Customs for the establishment of a Regional Training Center for Customs Canine in Ankara and with the US Customs for the establishment of a WCO Regional Training Center for Customs Canine in the United States. Delegates from Burkina Faso deposited their instrument for accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention - a global WCO standard for customs modernization, internationally recognized as a key tool for trade facilitation, thus becoming the 111th Party to this Convention.

Also, the delegates at the session of the Customs Co-operation Council discussed the manner of accession of new members to the WCO and noted the need to continue the discussion on this issue at an additional session of the Council in December 2017, when Deputy General Secretary of the WCO will also be elected.

On the margins of the Council session, in accordance with the Agreement of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the Government of the Russian Federation for Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters, the Director General of the Customs Administration of the Republic of Macedonia and the First Deputy Director of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation signed a Protocol on exchange of documents and information related to customs value of goods and a Work plan for its implementation.

The objective of the Protocol is to provide effective control when declaring customs value of the goods exchanged between the two countries, thereby reducing the risk of fraud, smuggling, corruption, or evasion of customs duties, taxes and other charges, while facilitating the legitimate trade between the two countries. 

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CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION