Regional Office for Capacity Building for the World Customs Organization Europe Region

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Adress by the Vice-Chair


Dear colleagues and friends,

Safar MehdiyevIn our modern world, with the steady increase of the volume of international trade, expansion of globalization and integration processes and diversification of world economic system, the management of trade supply chain has become a more complex and multi-staged process. These global challenges necessitate the reformation of business processes in the customs field based on modern requirements, development of a digital customs administration, optimal use of time and human resources for customs control, simplification of customs procedures, increase of transparency and application of up-to-date information and communication technologies.

The level of development of customs depends on the level of quality of service it provides. Customs plays the key and important role in the development of international trade in a secure, facilitated and smooth environment. The improvement of the work of customs authorities can be achieved not only through individual studies carried out by countries themselves, but also through result-driven collective initiatives. To achieve progress in this direction, the WCO provides a comprehensive guidance to its Members.



Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region 

The policy pursued by the WCO, its Revised Kyoto Convention, Harmonized System and other relevant tools serve for the harmonization of customs procedures and thus, facilitation and acceleration of international trade supply chain. Azerbaijan Customs has always been guided by these tools and instruments as well as the recommendations of the WCO. As the Vice-Chair of the Europe Region, Azerbaijan Customs will try to contribute to further promotion of these tools and enhancement of cooperation ties among customs authorities in the region.

Europe Region is rich in terms of regional structures of the WCO. Azerbaijan Republic hosts three regional structures of the WCO – namely, the Regional Office for Capacity Building for the WCO Europe Region, a Regional Training Center and a Regional Dog Training Center. The State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan recognizes the significance of standardization in customs matters in international level and formation of common best practices, and attaches great importance to capacity building activities to reach these goals.

Europe Region is the largest region of the WCO both geographically and according to the number of its Member countries. Enhanced relations among regional structures, more active and beneficial cooperation within their authorities are very important aspects. To this end, regional needs should be studied and relevant programs should be developed, as well as meetings and missions organized. All these measures will contribute to a more productive and facilitated service of customs authorities across the region. Maintaining closer cooperation both in the framework of the Europe Region, and with other regions of the WCO, especially through exchange of practices regarding innovations in the customs field, including the application of new information technologies would be beneficial for our common work.  The role of international cooperation is undisputable in learning best practices in all fields of customs in a global scale.

One of the tasks of customs is the fight against smuggling and other forms of customs offences. The illicit traffic in narcotic drugs as the threat affecting the present and the future of the modern world with impact on social and public sphere, physical and moral life of the people is one of the greatest global challenges that we face. Today, the world countries join their efforts in combating this ghastly evil for the humanity by developing common struggle methods. The illicit traffic in narcotic drugs is acknowledged as a crime at national, regional and international levels and has become a matter of common responsibility requiring the international cooperation as a means to address this challenge. Europe Region is one of the main regions encountering this problem. This issue also requires close cooperation among regional members and common struggle against this evil.

Information and communication technologies have penetrated into all spheres of our life, including the international trade. Without the use of technological advancements with modern innovative solutions it is impossible to cope with this difficult duty. The use of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence in the customs field for provision of security and sustainability of international trade will contribute to the provision of effective, efficient, transparent and modern customs services, and it will also support the economic development of the countries and social welfare of people.

One of the important steps towards provision of transparency at customs is carrying out mirror statistics, which is considered to be a very efficient method in the fight against shadow economy. It also creates favourable conditions for the development of customs-business cooperation, implementation of import-export operations in a simplified and facilitated form and supports entrepreneurship.

In the meantime, the Regional Office for Capacity Building for the Europe Region intends to further expand the functions of Regional Training Centers to conduct scientific-research activities in the customs field, build the capacity of personnel, increase their specialization, exchange best practices and ensure the productivity in the region. Besides, cooperation with international organizations, development of joint programs with private sector to enhance relations, considering their valuable opinions and recommendations for further improvement of customs work are among the main aspects of our work.

In this context, as the Vice-Chair for the Europe Region I assure you that we shall try to do our best for further development of trade relations in the region and enhancement of cooperation among regional countries with active participation of all Members. To this end, I invite all customs administrations in the WCO Europe Region to cooperate more closely and put forward common initiatives for the benefit of the entire region. These initiatives that we shall carry out based on our common goals and the positive results that we shall achieve will be relevant to the interests of the region and contribute for our administrations to reach higher levels. It’s my conviction that the near future will be more productive for the Europe Region.



Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region