The World Customs Organization's (WCO) Europe Region Heads of Customs Conference ended in Saint Petersburg, the Russian Federation, on April 26.
As reported, the delegation led by chairman of the State Customs Committee, customs service Lieutenant-General Safar Mehdiyev represented the Republic of Azerbaijan at the international event.
Coordination of the transit systems of the WCO Europe region, use of additional languages at WCO, results of the activity of the working group on WCO accession, preparation of the tool for assessment of activity at the WCO, priorities of Europe region in the Strategic Plan to be prepared for 2019-2022, improvement of WCO's rules and procedures, adoption of technical terms of WCO regional laboratories, WCO Europe region's representation at the WCO's committees and bodies were discussed during the conference.
The head of the Regional Office for Capacity Building for the WCO Europe Region in Baku and chairman of the WCO Finance Committee made reports at the conference. Then, elections were held for the posts of Vice-Chair of the WCO Customs Cooperation Council and Chair for Europe Region.
From the European Union Greece was nominated for the above-mentioned position in the last hour of the elections. As the European Union supported this nomination, tough discussions were held. As no agreement was reached, discussion of the issue was postponed until the next day. The Azerbaijani delegation held discussions on this issue with the representatives of the European Union, including officials of customs services of Greece, UK and Russia.
The issue was discussed as the conference was continued. Head of the UK customs service took a positive stance on Azerbaijan's nomination. Representatives of customs services of Kazakhstan, Turkey and Belarus also expressed positive opinion. After tough discussions, Azerbaijan was elected as Vice-Chair of the WCO Customs Cooperation Council and Chair for Europe Region for a two-year term. Then, the Azerbaijani side made a presentation on the work to be done during its tenure as Vice-Chair.
It should be noted that as a logical result of the significant reforms carried out in all spheres, including customs system in our country under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the Republic of Azerbaijan was elected as Vice-Chair of the WCO Customs Cooperation Council, which brings together 53 states, and Chair for Europe Region. It was these progressive reforms that Europe voted for.
Press and Public Affairs Department of the State Customs Committee