International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Danilovich met with World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya at WCO Headquarters in Brussels earlier this week to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the world business community and the WCO to facilitate cross-border trade.
Joined by Norman Shenk, chair of the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation and UPS vice president of global customs policy and public affairs, Danilovich highlighted the role of the ICC World Chambers Federation in co-administering the ATA Carnet System and cooperating with the WCO in the area of Certificates of Origin.
ICC also supports the WCO with the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative to stop counterfeited goods at borders and prevent free trade zones from becoming hotspots for illicit trade and organized crime groups.
Discussions included specific challenges that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) encounter when trading across borders, customs valuation ceilings for goods known as de minimis, rules of origin and the increasing importance of e-commerce and global value chains.
Thanking Mikuriya for making the customs-business cooperation a priority, Danilovich also reaffirmed ICC’s ongoing support for the WCO’s work on trade facilitation and in particular for the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that aims to enhance trade flows.
“Given that the agreement deals almost entirely with Customs-related topics, trade ministries, Customs and business must all be involved at country-level to ensure the TFA’s successful implementation,” Danilovich said.
Mikuriya has emphasized on many occasions that Customs and business are natural allies in trade facilitation. Both he and Danilovich will speak at the upcoming Customs and Trade Facilitation Symposium, hosted by ICC and USCIB in Miami from February 22 to 24.