6th WCO Technology and Innovation Forum gets underway

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with Japan Customs, launched today in Tokyo, Japan, the 6th WCO Technology and Innovation Forum which gathered around 500 participants from Customs administrations, law enforcement agencies, government ministries and the private sector to discuss the most recent technological innovations and trends in border management.

Specific topics to be addressed during the three-day event include the pros and cons of new technologies, the impact of disruptive technologies on borders, coordination between agencies involved in the clearance process, the trust between humans and machines, the use of geospatial data in the Customs environment, and the utilization of data analytics – a recurrent but important issue which the WCO chose to highlight as its theme for 2017.

The Forum also provides a unique opportunity for participants to obtain first-hand information from suppliers and to get a clearer picture of how existing solutions and products can add to the capabilities of Customs officers. In this regard, 36 companies are showcasing their products and services to participants in the Forum’s Exhibition Hall.

In his speech, Parliamentary Vice-Minister, Ministry of Finance, Japan, Mr. Makoto Nagamine, who graciously agreed to open the Forum, stated that “it is of upmost importance to continually develop and introduce new technologies. This Forum provides an excellent opportunity where the public and private sectors can engage in a direct dialogue about innovative technologies.”

“As borders are becoming more and more digitalized, it is critical for Customs administrations to understand which technologies will matter to them, and prepare accordingly,” said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya. “I look forward to listening attentively to the high level Customs officials and experts from different organizations and companies who have come to share their insights and experiences with us,” he added.

Secretary General Mikuriya also thanked the Japanese Customs Administration, in particular Mr. Atsushi Iizuka, Director General of Customs, for hosting this year’s Forum, noting that as one of the leading nations in the field of advanced scientific research, technology development and innovative equipment, Japan is an ideal place to hold the Technology and Innovation Forum.

Ahead of the Forum, Secretary General also met with Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe who expressed his conviction that technology can enhance the performance of Customs as well as his support for events such as the WCO TI Forum.

Presentations and outcomes of the Forum will be posted on the Events Section of the WCO website soon.