1st WCO Accreditation Workshop on Customs Laboratories held

The WCO organized its first Accreditation Workshop for Technical and Operational Advisors on Customs Laboratory Matters from 23 to 27 October at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, with the support of CCF/Japan. Twelve pre-selected candidates from the Customs Laboratories of Argentina, China, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Russia Federation, Sudan and Turkey participated in the programme.

This Workshop was organized with the aim of setting up a pool of Customs Laboratory expert trainers capable of independently leading training and technical assistance activities on behalf of the WCO, regarding the implementation and modernization of Customs Laboratories. The sessions consisted of presentations and round-table discussions about many key issues relating to the establishment and improvement of Customs Laboratories, including case studies brought by participants.

At the opening ceremony Mr. Ping Liu, Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the WCO, expressed his thanks to the Spanish Customs administration for making Mr. Alvaro Fernandez Acebes available to the Secretariat as a co-facilitator of the Workshop. The Director emphasized that the work of Customs Laboratories today is crucial for Customs authorities. Apart from their traditional role as an instrument for the determination of tariff classification, Customs Laboratories are nowadays playing a greater role in safeguarding human and animal health and welfare, including drug enforcement and the fight against terrorism. He highlighted the necessity of setting up a pool of Customs laboratory expert trainers to complement the WCO’s current efforts in meeting the increasing demand from Members for assistance in establishing and modernizing their Customs laboratories.

Throughout the Workshop, all participants worked intensively and demonstrated their knowledge, skills, techniques and, most importantly, enthusiasm to contribute to the WCO capacity building activities in the future. Successful participants to the Workshop will be invited to the next stage of the WCO expert accreditation process, an in-field mission with a WCO lead expert. Fully accredited experts will be expected to conduct future WCO capacity building activities as trainers representing the WCO.