With the rapid spread of globalization, international trade, cross border investment flows are increasingly seen as the main elements of the global marketplace. Since international trade acts as a vehicle for economic development, Customs Administrations can play an important role in enhancing economic prosperity by ensuring the security of the business environment.
Pakistan Customs has reason to celebrate the occasion of International Customs Day, marked by the Customs fraternity on 26th January every year, with regard to this year’s theme i.e. “Security of the Business Environment”, as with the successful launch of the indigenously developed WeBOC (Web Based One Customs) software for automated clearance of import, export and transit cargo, Pakistan Customs is a step closer to the use of an automated environment for the exchange of data, while taking into account both cyber safety and data security.
Although international trade is the lifeblood of the global economy, it unfortunately also attracts illicit activities. Pakistan Customs is already working to balance its objectives of trade facilitation with enforcement, through active participation in the WCO’s Security Programme, including the effective launch of the Container Control Programme in all enforcement Collectorates. Other border security challenges that are being addressed include enhanced passenger controls through the planned implementation of the Advance Passenger Information System; Strategic Trade Control Enforcement involving checks on the import of dual use precursor chemicals, and anti terrorist financing controls.
On this occasion, I would also like to thank a host of International Development Partners including the World Bank, World Customs Organization, Asian Development Bank, USAID, JICA, UNODC, DFID, IFC, etc. without whose technical and material support, it would not have been possible to achieve the difficult task of maintaining the security of the business environment without compromising trade facilitation.
In the end, I congratulate all officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on this special day with the hope that they shall continue to strive for greater professionalism in line with international best practices, to enable the facilitation of international trade and passenger traffic along with the enhancement of effective controls through a secure business environment.