On 28 July 2016, the Official Launching Ceremony of the WCO A/P Vice Chair’s Office was held in Suva, Fiji, with presence of Honorable Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Attorney General and Minister of Economy, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, Dato’ Sri Khazali bin Hj Ahmad, Director General of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD). Around 50 other invited guests, including Fiji-based diplomatic corps and participants to the WCO Sub-regional Workshop on Integrity, which was held coincidently, and Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P, attended and witnessed the Ceremony.
In the wake of the singing of the Fijian national anthem and the devotion, Mr. Visvanath Das, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) and Comptroller of Customs, made a speech in the capacity of new A/P Regional Vice-Chair. He expressed FRCA’s honor to succeed the new role or the next 2 years as the first WCO Member in the Pacific region to take over the important tasks, which would lead to raising the profile of the FRCA as well as other Member administrations in the Pacific region amongst the international Customs community, and reassured his determination to continue to foster close communication and coordination among the regional Member administrations with a view to contending with a series of challenges ahead of the Customs community. Dr. Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, expressed his confidence on FRCA to maintain and further elevate such important roles of the A/P Regional Vice Chair, and stressed the imperative needs for connectivity among all relevant stakeholders, including Customs to Customs connectivity, to fulfill evolving roles of the Customs. Dato’ Sri Khazali, RMCD Director General, offered continued support and collaboration with FRCA and wished all the best for the undertaking under the leadership of FRCA Acting CEO. Honorable Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Attorney General and Minister of Economy, endorsed his political support for the FRCA to undertake the roles of the A/P Regional Vice-Chair for the next 2 years. Minister called for further enhancing international cooperation and collaboration in exchange of information and experience, as well as technical capacity building support from the WCO Secretariat and the regional WCO Member administrations. The Minister also touched upon the Integrity Workshop and reiterated the importance of integrity for upheaving the region’s economic growth and securing the border from the threats posed by transnational organized crime and terrorism. In the wake of speeches, the A/P regional flag, which was officially handed over from RMCD to FRCA at the A/P regional consultation session held in the margin of the recent 127th/128th Sessions of the WCO Council, was unfolded and the plaque of the A/P Regional Vice Chair was unveiled.