Dubai Customs kicks off UAE Customs Week activities with WCO and FCA Participation
Sultan bin Sulayem: Enhanced Customs work boosts Dubai's position as a regional and international hub for global trade and logistics
Kunio Mikuriya: The UAE has shown leadership in implementing the WCO instruments and programmes
Dubai – 25 January 2021: Dubai Customs kicked off its program of activities as part of the 4th UAE Customs Week 2021 running from January 24-28 under the theme, ‘Dubai Customs: Sustainable Operations’. A virtual opening ceremony was held with the presence of Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World Group and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC); Dr.Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Ahmed Abdullah Bin Lahej, Director General of the Federal Customs Authority; Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Ports and Customs Department; Mohammed Mir Abdul Rahman Al Sarah, Director General of Sharjah Seaports and Customs Department; alongside officials from the Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs and other local customs administrations, and delegates from Saudi and Bahraini Customs as well as the WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO).
The events of the Customs Week, held in conjunction with the International Customs Day which is celebrated on 26 January every, focus on raising public awareness around the role customs plays in ensuring sustainable development while securing borders.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World Group and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), said during the virtual opening ceremony: “Dubai Customs is progressing steadily on its agenda to continually develop and enhance Customs business to boost Dubai's position as a regional and international hub for global trade and logistics, that connect the world's various commercial and economic markets.”
“This is part of Dubai Customs’ commitment to driving the UAE’s sustainable development, following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”
“Dubai Customs is reinforcing its efforts towards implementing the country’s sustainable economic development plans with the active involvement of all segments of society. We look forward to engaging with our community and stakeholders throughout the Customs week events for a better understanding of the Customs mission in trade facilitation and border control. Without the support of our partners, stakeholders and the public, the Customs could not ensure smooth flow of trade and travel while safeguarding the society from all health, security and economic risks.
Despite the economic difficulties the world has experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai Customs succeeded in achieving 16 million customs transactions in 2020, with a growth of 23% compared to 13 million transactions recorded in 2019'.
Bin Sulayem said, “The year 2021 is particularly important for the Customs work as we aim to reinforce our sustainable operations to be able to keep up with the requirements of the Customs of the future. Innovation, digitization and the use of advanced technology along with the development of human capital will be decisive in enhancing our capacity in this respect.”
In a special speech addressed to the virtual opening panel of the 4th UAE Customs Week, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, said: “It is my pleasure to talk to you during the Customs Week celebrated in conjunction with the International Customs Day to commemorate the first meeting of the WCO that was held on 26th January 1953.”
“The UAE Federal Customs Authority is an important member of the WCO and host of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) in the Middle East and North Africa region. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the UAE for is constant support to the WCO and members of the MENA region in their reform and modernization programs,” he said.
“The past year presented a particular challenge for all Customs administrations under the COVID-19 situation,” added Dr. Mikuriya, expressing his thanks to all Customs officers who made enormous efforts to safeguard the supply chain in spite of the potential health risks that they were exposed to. “The WCO has sought to support the Customs administrations and the global Society in providing guidance, in facilitating and securing the global supply chain, coordinating international cooperation and providing capacity-building assistance; thereby contributing to the sustainable development efforts.
As we are all aiming to move towards the post-pandemic era throughout 2021, the WCO has adopted this year's annual theme as “Customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience for a sustainable supply chain”.
He said he expected that the UAE, as a WCO member as well as the host country of the ROCB, could offer a good model in this global endeavor for recovering from the global pandemic.
“In the UAE, Customs have been working closely with partner government agencies and relevant stakeholders to support the government efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure safety. They're working now to expedite border procedures of the importation of COVID-19 vaccine – a good example of coordinated border management.”
The WCO Secretary General underscored that the UAE has shown leadership in implementing the WCO instruments and programmes, with commitment to digitization in several areas of Customs work to help boost resilience and sustainability.
“I'm sure that the UAE Centennial Plan 2071 will help establishing the resilience in this respect and the ROCB could contribute to sharing that excellent knowledge to the region. The WCO will continue to work with Customs in the UAE to achieve these goals with recovery, renewal and resilience in mind and share best practices,” he concluded.
Ahmed Abdullah bin Lahej Al Falasi, Director General of the Federal Customs Authority, said: “Sustainable development plans constitute an integrated approach to economic progress and growth that shows the critical role the customs sector has in achieving development as we are moving on to the next 50 years of the UAE.”
Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, said: “The UAE Customs Week aims to highlight the role of customs and its contribution to protecting society and facilitating trade by incorporating innovation and business agility to enhance performance. The existence of a unified customs system in the UAE fosters the country’s competitiveness and economic efficiency.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Ports and Customs Department, said: “The UAE Customs Week reinforces the important role of the customs sector in serving the national economy and culminates customs-business partnership towards a sustainable development.”
The PCFC Chairman and the Director General of Dubai Customs together launched the Dubai Customs’ Strategic Plan 2021-2026, the main highlights of which were presented during the virtual opening ceremony. The Dubai Customs smart declaration app, i-Declare, was also launched in the event. The smart mobile app enables passengers arriving in Dubai to securely submit Customs declarations electronically, thus bypassing the current traditional paper forms. The iDeclare application simplifies the Customs clearance process for passengers by enabling self-declaration of their must-declare commercial goods, personal effects or cash either pre or post arrival at the airport, saving them both time and effort.
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