Intensive interactions between the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in recent months reached a high point in March when the Organisation’s Secretary-General Ambassador Kunio Mikuriya paid a two-day visit.
Mikuriya, who has been serving as the WCO Secretary General since 2009, was in the company of Ms Sharon Davies, Technical Attaché, Capacity Building Directorate when he met Commissioner-General of the GRA Godfrey Statia and senior officials in Customs Excise and Trade Operations on March 19 and 20.
According to a release from the GRA, the two sides discussed national and regional support to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which Guyana ratified in November 2015 and Mikuriya was briefed on the Trade Facilitation status by the GRA.
At present the GRA has representation on Guyana’s National Committee on Trade Facilitation.
Day two of the visit saw the Secretary-General being guided on a tour of key areas in Customs Operations such as the Entry Processing Unit, wharves and the Scanner operation site. He used the opportunity to interact with Customs Officers stationed at these points, giving them guidance on best practices.
Mikuriya also met participants in the ongoing Customs Officer III Training Programme where he delivered remarks highlighting the importance of the Harmonised System (HS) training which was ongoing at the time.
The HS was developed by the WCO to standardise tariff codes in accordance with international beast practices. Mikuriya indicated that HS combined with Valuation best practices, Rules of Origin, Trade Facilitation and Enforcement, constitute some of the core requirements for Customs Officers in any jurisdiction to effectively carry out their functions.
The GRA said it was commended for some of the various customs moderinsation measures already implemented, as the Secretary General pledged WCO’s continued technical support and future capacity building assistance to the GRA.
In February this year, the WCO completed a Mercator Programme Scoping Mission to Guyana that identified key areas of Customs operations where GRA could benefit from WCO’s assistance.