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On 2 March 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) of the Republic of India held an online signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) in India.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, and Mr. Ajit Kumar, Chairman of the CBIC. The primary role of the RCL is to help WCO Members in the region improve the accuracy and effectiveness of Customs laboratory analysis work by extending and enhancing regional cooperation and networking.

Chairman Kumar highlighted his firm commitment to make the expertise and facilities of the Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL) available to WCO Members in the Asia/Pacific (A/P) region, so as to enhance information sharing in that region. The above-mentioned expertise and facilities will also be used to organize workshops and seminars on analysis methodologies and techniques to enhance efficiency in revenue collection, in protecting the society as well as facilitating trade.

Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the importance of investing in human resources in order to strengthen Customs’ resilience by building staff preparedness for pandemics and other potentially unpredictable situations. Furthermore, Dr. Mikuriya reiterated the significant role played by RCLs as regional hubs and in building networks between Customs officers within a region. WCO RCLs also play a key role in further developing regional activities.

Online signing ceremony for an MoU on the establishment of a Regional Customs Laboratory in India

Mr. Konstantinos Kaiopoulos, WCO Director of Tariff and Trade Affairs, and Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, attended the online signing ceremony together with the Director of the CBIC’s CRCL and the Principal Commissioner of the Directorate of International Customs, CBIC.

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