On 20 November 2020, a virtual conference of the World Customs Organization Europe Region Heads of Customs Administration was held.
WCO Europe Region Member Administrations and EU, WCO Secretariat, the Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region as well as the ROCB Europe and RILOs in the region were represented in the virtual conference. The WCO Secretariat delegation was headed by Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya. The Conference was chaired by the Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region, Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, customs service Colonel-General Safar Mehdiyev.
The Chairperson of the WCO Europe Region Mr. Safar Mehdiyev delivered a welcoming speech at the beginning of the session. Chairman of the committee said despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, he praised the participation of the countries of the region in the conference as a manifestation of determination and mutual cooperation with the view of development of trade and effective organization of customs, taking into account regional and international interests, expressed his gratitude for this.
Emphasizing that the WCO's economic development in the Europe Region, the sustainability and security of the international trade chain depends on the political, economic and social problems in the region, Safar Mehdiyev said Azerbaijan supported all the steps taken to maintain peace and stability. He also briefed the participants on the work done by the Azerbaijani Customs Service during the WCO Vice Chairmanship for the Europe Region, spoke about the steps taken to increase mutual exchange of experience and strengthen capacity.
Secretary General of the World Customs Organization Kunio Mikuriya spoke about the challenges posed by the pandemic and said that the experience of the World Health Organization in terms of ensuring the security of the global supply chain should be studied and applied. Mr. Kunio Mikuriya spoke about the virtual activities of the relevant WCO bodies and noted the benefits of strengthening mutual cooperation.
Making a speech on the theme "Exchanging the best practices of the European customs bodies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic" Turkish Deputy Trade Minister, Mr. Rıza Tuna Turagay spoke about the importance of effective organization and support of coronavirus control measures, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Igbal Babayev made a report on "Revising the Bergen Agreement" with reporting the results of the meeting of the Working Group held in Baku on January 23-24, 2020 on the initiative of Azerbaijan to prepare amendments to the Bergen Agreement and the results of the voting held on the initiative of Azerbaijan among the customs services included in the Europe region with the view of defining the principle of amendments to the Bergen Agreement.
Representative of Russia's Federal Customs Service in the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr. Dmitry Subochev made a speech on the theme "Establishing the performance measurement system in the frame of the WCO".
Head of the Regional Capacity Building Office for the WCO Europe Region, Mr. Eser Çengel made a report on ROCB Europe strategies and activities. He also brıefed the Conference on the brand new initiatives.
The joint presentation of WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices for Europe region was presented by head of RILO ECE Ms. Katarzyna Banaszek.
At the end of the Conference, discussions took place on holding elections to the Polıcy Commission of the Customs Cooperation Council. Representatives of Turkey, Russia and European Union highly appreciated Azerbaijan's effective activity in capacity of Vice Chair and proposed to extend its chairmanship of WCO Europe Region for another year. The proposal to extend Azerbaijan's vice-chairmanship of WCO Europe Region for another year was unanimously supported by other member states of the region.