The 8th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Customs DGs/Commissioners Meeting was held in Heraklion, (Crete, Greece) on 15 – 16 October 2009.

The Greek Customs Director General, Nikolaos Vernadakis welcomed the delegates and opened the meeting which took up five priorities: Trade facilitation and Supply Chain Security, Combating counterfeiting, Role of Customs in protecting society and the environment, Fight against fraud and Customs Cooperation/Capacity Building.

The meeting adopted the ASEM Trade Facilitation Action Plan on Customs Matters (TFAP) for 2010-2012, which include enhanced dialogue with business and exploration of the possibility to implement pre-arrival and pre-departure security declaration in line with SAFE Framework of Standards.

Speaking at the meeting, the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, stated that the WCO increasingly works closely with regional groups and welcome the perfect synergy between the WCO and the biggest inter-regional group between Asia and Europe. The new TFAP emphasizes the promotion of the Harmonized System (HS) and the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). He said: “I am particularly pleased that the meeting identified the Customs Business Partnership as priority which the WCO support with its new theme for the international Customs Day 2010, and our partnership with the private sector, including the Private Sector Consultative Group and various trade associations which are observers to the WCO meetings. The on-going cooperation on IPR enforcement between the two leading regions is also encouraging”.

The meeting adopted the Heraklion Declaration to enhance inter-regional cooperation in the ASEM.

Discussions in Greece for the 8th ASEM Customs Directors-General/Commissioners Meeting focused on:

  1. Customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)
  2. Security of the Supply Chain
  3. Trade Facilitation and Simplification
  4. Fight against Fraud
  5. The role of customs in protecting the society and the environment

The ASEM Customs DG-Commissioners Meetings follow up on the agreement made between ASEM Leaders during the 1st ASEM Summit of Heads of State and Government (Bangkok, 1-2 March 1996).

ASEM Customs bureaus are to undertake facilitation and liberalization measures involving the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures, to deal with illicit drug trafficking and to consider the development of closer co-operation in these areas among the Customs authorities in Asia and Europe.