WCO Secretary General supports digitalization of the transit system for the Middle Corridor
From 14 to 16 March 2023, at the invitation of Mr. Shahin Baghirov, the Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, visited Baku, Azerbaijan to address the Multilateral meeting on the simplification of Customs procedures along the Middle Corridor, linking Asia and Europe through Central Asia.
In his keynote speech, Secretary General Mikuriya underlined the importance of using international standards and digital technology to harmonize customs transit procedures. In this connection, he referred to the WCO Railway Guidance (2022) to facilitate and control electronic customs transit in cooperation with railway and other government agencies. Dr. Mikuriya suggested that there is a need to invest in human resources capacity building to enable the implementation of standards and the use technology for appropriate customs control, based on risk management. He also stressed the potential of the transit for landlocked countries to be used as basis for economic development.
The meeting, which saw the participation of Customs administrations of countries in Central Asia and its adjacent region, agreed on launching the data exchange portal. The participants supported this initiative that could lead to more harmonized and efficient customs transit procedures in the Middle Corridor.
Dr. Mikuriya met the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ali Asadov and discussed the improvement of the Middle Corridor and WCO’s capacity building support in this regard.
He also visited the Customs Academy to meet students, in line with WCO’s theme of the year “Nurturing the next generation”.
During his stay in Baku, Dr. Mikuriya gave a lecture on global trade and the role of Customs at the Azerbaijan State University of Economics. He also received a honorary doctorate degree in economics.