Apia, 29 July 2016
On 29 July 2016, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, and Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P, visited Apia, Samoa, to pay courtesy calls to the Samoan political leaders with a view to calling for continued high-level support for on-going Customs reform and modernization of Samoa Customs, including expeditious accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention. In Apia, Dr. Mikuriya and Mr. Igarashi paid a courtesy visit to Samoan Prime Minister, Mr. Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesollai Aiono Neioti Sailele Malielegaoi, who warmly welcomed the WCO delegation visited Samoa for the first time. Prime Minister recognized the roles of the Customs for Samoa government with its revenue collection and border security functions and thanked the WCO for the technical assistance provided to Samoa Customs. Secretary General underlined the importance of simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures with the international standards through early accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), which is expected to be soon approved by the Samoa parliament, so that the Samoa’s economy may be well connected to the global trade. Secretary General reiterated that WCO’s relevant instruments and tools, including the RKC, would lead to increase Samoa’s economic competitiveness as well as border security capacity, which the Prime Minister has concerned. In this respect, Dr. Mikuriya encouraged the Samoa government to continuously engage in the regional economic integration effort through modernizing Customs procedures and practices. Prime Minister asked for the WCO’s continued support for the Samoa Customs’ capacity building to this end.
Prior to the courtesy visit to Prime Minister, Dr. Mikuriya and Mr. Igarashi met Samoa’s Minister for Revenue and Prisons, Mr. Tialavea Fea Leniu Tionisio Hunt, and his Associate Minister at the Samoa Customs Headquarters. In this meeting, Secretary General explained the WCO’s continued commitment to the Members’ capacity building, especially for the Pacific region, in order to support connecting the region’s economies to the global trade chain and to counter transnational organized crime and terrorism. Minister welcomed the delegation and appreciated for the WCO’s ceaseless support for Samoa Customs. Articulating a set of challenges the Samoa government and Customs are facing, Minister asked for continued provision of technical training to Samoa Customs.
Taking this opportune occasion, Dr. Mikuriya and Mr. Igarashi were escorted by Samoa Customs Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Avalisa Viali Fautua’alii, for a tour to the Customs Headquarters and observed daily frontline operations in Customs clearance.