Magdy Abdel Aziz, head of the Customs Authority, is heading the Egyptian delegation participating in the meetings of the Public Policy Committee and the board of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as the meetings of heads of customs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) who are members in the WTO. The meetings are being hosted in Brussels on Monday and will continue until 8 July.
Abdel Aziz said that Public Policy Committees will discuss several important files in the meetings, including the work report of the trade facilitation agreement, where the meeting of the group responsible for the work is expected to involve the discussions of the agreement, which started in February and called for more utilisation of the technical help offered to the member countries in the organisation known as the Meractor programme.
The work group also requested the issuance of a report that calls upon members of the organisation to coordinate with national committees to facilitate trade between them and cooperate with the government, in order to officially identify the needs to build capabilities in relation to the implementation of the trade facilitation agreement.
Abdel Aziz added that during the meetings, the measures taken by Egypt to start implementing the meeting will be overviewed. The measures include the ratification of the parliament for Egypt’s joining of the agreement and the steps to be implemented once the agreement comes into force with the WTO.
The agenda also includes discussing the security initiative file currently adopted by the organisation to combat terrorism and smuggling. “There is ongoing coordination by the Egyptian Customs Authority with all security authorities in Egypt to tighten control over the customs and border areas, and benefiting from the studies currently undertaken by the WTO regarding the ‘fragile borders’ initiative, which requires a strategy of two aspects: security and economic development,” said Abdel Aziz.
He added that the meetings will discuss the most recent developments of the new global strategies and initiatives to develop control mechanisms, and combating terrorism and smuggling of explosives and weapons. The meetings are also expected to discuss the importance of spreading awareness on a national level of the role of customs in fighting international terrorism.
Illegal financial flows crossing borders will also be discussed in the meetings, according to Abdel Aziz. He said that the procedures Egypt is implementing in this regard will be presented, where the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), the Customs Authority, and the Ministry of Transport and other concerned authorities will all be automatically connected.
The role of the Central Administration of Combating Customs Evasion was activated, according to Abdel Aziz, where specialised authorities were created to handle the issues of targeting, money laundering, protection of intellectual property rights, and the signing of agreements in cooperation with trade partners.
The meeting of the WTO board is to be held during the period extending from 6 to 8 July and will discuss several important files that include the possibility of non-member countries in the UN to join the World Customs Organisation. The files to be discussed also include the ratification of the strategic plan organising world trade, the technical committees’ reports, and the arrangements to elect a new secretary general for the World Customs Organisation, as well as a new deputy secretary general and a president of the organisation.