Smart customs: The gateway to high performance and sustainability – Swedish Custom DG

Rice seized by the Nigeria Customs officers

The modern day customs needs to inspire trust and confidence among public and private stakeholders, even as changing realities, expectations and demands force administrations to embrace innovation and change.

The Director General of Swedish Customs, Ms. Therese Mattsson, gave the suggestion in a keynote address she delivered at the 9th session of the World Custom Organisation Capacity Building Committee (CBC) held in Brussels, according to WCO.

She indicated that smart, simple solutions that provide quality service to citizens and business, while promoting voluntary compliance is key in gaining public trust.  She also emphasized the importance of diversity, partnership and building an attractive work environment in support of smart Customs and strengthened public and private partnerships at the border.

While presenting the address, she reflected on Swedish Customs’ 380-year history as an agency, and on present-day demands and changing realities that are moving the agency towards a smarter and citizen-focused model.

The Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stressed the importance of the Committee’s work in enabling the informed application of WCO instruments and tools.

He highlighted the outcomes of high-level dialogues with the United Nations Security Council, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, making particular note of Customs’ contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to non-fiscal measures of performance, including facilitation and protection of society.  Reflecting on the theme of the meeting, the Secretary General noted joint discussions between the World Bank and the WCO on the development of a richer methodology for assessing border performance, leveraging the combined perspectives of the WCO and its membership, and the expertise in the World Bank, especially the Ease of Doing Business and Logistics Performance analyses.

Building on the theme of “Smart Customs”, WCO said the Committee benefited from presentations on the latest technological trends that are already impacting Customs operations and training.  Developments in remote sensing, machine learning, robotics, augmented reality and virtual reality are already seeing application in the field, with the trend set to increase over the coming years.

At the same time, the Committee engaged retrospectively on the history of Customs and the evolving mandates of Customs administrations beyond revenue collection, taking into account social protection, trade facilitation and security.  Intersecting the past and the future, the Committee also discussed present-day trends in performance measurement, highlighting Member applications that promote tactical and strategic decision-making, while increasing accountability and integrity.  The Committee also took into account the latest developments on questions of diversity and gender equality, taking note of the WCO’s efforts in this area.

Approximately 200 WCO member administrations and stakeholder organizations participated in the 9th session of the WCO Capacity Building Committee (CBC) held in Brussels.


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