The 4th WCO Global AEO Conference opened on the 14 March 2018 in Kampala, Uganda with more than 1500 registrations from over 95 countries to discuss dynamic developments in Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes widely acknowledged as a key driver for solid Customs-Business partnerships.
The first AEO programme within the African continent was materialized in the East African Community (EAC) region , leading to the signature, during this Conference, of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) — Action Plan between Korea Customs Service (KCS) and the EAC Members. The delegates of this Conference also witnessed the signature of another important MRA between Peru and Uruguay Customs represented by the Directors General of Customs.
The Conference was opened by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda with an inspiring message on the importance of regional collaboration among East African Countries and the need for a coordinated approach for broadening the scope of investment in Africa. He congratulated the WCO for providing a platform for discussing the topical issues of interests to the international community and highlighted the need for renewed trust and commitment for cooperation among African Countries.
In his welcome address, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, underscored that this AEO Conference is the first of its kind in the African continent, more precisely in the pearl of Africa, Uganda. He echoed the President’s appreciation of the commitment of the EAC towards enhancing trade facilitation in the region.
Secretary General Mikuriya added that the African continent is actually booming with new developments in the field of security and facilitation of the supply chain. He stated that the theme of the Conference, “Promoting Mutual Recognition of AEOs to Strengthen and Secure Global Trade”, is very much in line with the increasing number of AEO programmes being implemented, including the number of Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) signed globally.
Dr. Mikuriya also commended the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), through its Commissioner General and Commissioner of Customs, for the strong dedication of the URA and the relentless efforts of their team in the organization of this successful event.