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WCO Secretariat celebrates International Customs Day 2023

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BRUSSELS : On 26 January, the Secretariat of the World Customs Organization (WCO) celebrated the International Customs Day at its Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The celebration was supported by Belgium Customs. This year also marks the celebration of the Organization’s 70th anniversary, commemorating the inaugural session of the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) which took place on 26 January 1953.

On this occasion, as it is customary, the Secretary General of the WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, shared on the WCO Website a message to announce and elaborate on the theme of the year 2023 “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs”. The theme will guide the Customs family and its partners throughout the year to place human capital, and especially the new generation, at the heart of the transformation of Customs – an approach the WCO has been advocating for several years.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary General took part in the celebrations organized by Belgium Customs, which saw the participation of Mr. Hans D’Hondt, President of the Belgian Federal Finance Public Service (SPF Finances), Mr. Vincent Van Peteghem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Gerassimos Thomas, Director-General of DG TAXUD, and Mr. Kristian Vanderwaeren, General Administrator of Belgian Customs and Excise. During this event Belgian Customs Officers as well as Customs Attachés were rewarded for their achievements during the past year. A parade followed from the Brussels Grand Place to the iconic Manneken-Pis statue which was dressed for the occasion in a Customs uniform.

The Secretary General then addressed the personnel of the Secretariat and Customs attachés at its Headquarters, in the presence of several guests including Ambassadors based in Belgium. Dr. Mikuriya explained the relevance of Customs in today’s international trade landscape and the importance for Customs to establish ways to transfer knowledge to the new generation of Customs officers. He went on to say that this approach must be rooted in the administration’s culture. It requires not only dynamic inter-generational relationships, but also an outward-looking attitude, characterized by exchanges with the actors engaged in the movement of goods and passengers, as well as with service providers and with academia. He also thanked Belgium Customs for its participation in this celebration.

The Belgium General Administrator of Customs and Excise, Mr. Kristian Vanderwaeren, thanked the WCO Secretariat for the opportunity to participate in the event and highlighted the importance of this year’s theme of knowledge-sharing with the young generation to ensure Customs’ relevance in a rapidly changing international trade landscape

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