I extend my felicitations to the Customs fraternity on the International Customs Day 26th January, 2021 which being a signature event, brings together different parties and stakeholders that are responsible for societal protection and smooth conduction of legitimate economic activities. The slogan for this year’s International Customs Day is “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain”. However, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has dedicated this year to the untiring efforts of Customs to support people and businesses in the critical times of COVID-19, by strengthening the global supply chain and without halting the economic activities.
The role of Pakistan Customs is changing and is responsible for a wide range of duties that span across narcotics interdiction, protection and collection of government revenue, trade controls and facilitation, intellectual property rights protection, protection from environmental hazards as well as consumer protection. However, Customs is successfully mastering the dual role of a regulator and a facilitator for the business environment within the country and through International trade and by binding a close partnership with counterparts in the law enforcement domain and business sector.
Pakistan Customs is playing pivotal role in making the country an economic corridor. A vast variety of initiatives have been taken up to meet best international practices and to cope pace with the globalized modern approaches towards facilitation and unification of trade. Pakistan Single Window is the most important initiative under process by Customs, which provides one-stop electronic platform for lodging of trade documents, promoting cross-border customs co-operation and expediting trade declaration and customs clearance. Other ongoing projects like ITTMs, TIR carnet, International Transshipment will boost the country’s potential to compete in global first class trade by increasing efficiency and accountability. AEO Pilot Project has also been operational at Karachi to facilitate trade and reduce undue clearance processes. Meanwhile, to counter the illicit movement of goods across the country Customs has been made lead agency to combat smuggling and for that purpose Border Management Initiative and Counter Smuggling Portal has been established for improved border security and maintaining database to monitor and identify the smuggled goods and actors involved respectively. In order to ensure renewal of supply chains, Pakistan Customs is putting in best efforts to facilitate the regional/international trade. In this regard, Pakistan has considerably improved its rate of implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) from 34% in June, 2018 to 79% in November, 2020.
I firmly believe the above-stated measures shall play a consequential role in aiding our country in making an excellent comeback from of the pandemic. In the end, I once again congratulate Pakistan Customs on the occasion of International Customs Day and wish a very fruitful year ahead.