Today, we join Customs Officials worldwide, led by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), in honouring the inaugural meeting of the Customs Co-operation Council, which took place in Brussels in 1953 by marking International Customs Day (ICD).

International Customs Day occurs annually on January 26. We commend the WCO for adopting the topic “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge Sharing and Professional Pride in Customs” for 2023.

European firms, unified in the European Commission’s Trade Contact Group (TCG), fully support and endorse this theme. Customs education and training are the pillars of compliant, effective, and efficient international trade.

European Trade Associations engaging in global commerce recognise the real need for training and education to build strong customs skills. Therefore, empowering our next generation of business leaders and encouraging them to consider a career in corporate customs compliance is crucial. It will play an important part in the design of comprehensive knowledge management strategies and training programmes. That would help promote our industry-leading best practice education and work experiences in customs and global trade matters.

The WCO and DG TAXUD’s leadership and direction on education and training is already appreciated. We particularly value the WCO Academy and its online training programmes, as well as DG TAXUD’s free training classes. Together with the EU’s Customs Competences Strategy, with its added emphasis on competencies in the private sector, nurturing the ‘next generation’ offers a significant and welcome contribution to the development of Customs resources. Moreover, we believe this is a model that other customs agencies may desire to examine closely.

Of course, at the regional level in Europe, 2023 is a crucial year for the future of customs. Strategic proposals are imminent on the Review of the Union Customs Code and crucial eCustoms systems will start going live throughout the next twelve months. The TCG looks forward with anticipation. Members are poised, as always, to work in the closest collaborative partnership with the European Commission and Member States. We are keen to ensure the results meet with the expectations and needs of a modern, global customs environment for trade as well as European authorities

Let’s toast to Customs Worldwide.