Suva, Fiji, October 19, 2020– Revenue security is a priority for Heads of Customs administrations in the Oceania region when they virtually meet tomorrow (Tuesday, October 20) for their annual conference.

“We all know the chaos COVID-19 has caused and the impacts on various economies, for customs organisations in the Pacific region it is critical that they continue to facilitate trade and earn revenue that is now more needed than ever for their governments,” OCO Head of Secretariat, Richard Brennan said.

“Our Pacific leaders had reaffirmed the need for strengthened collective actions to effectively manage the regional security environment. In the region, we are seeing emerging threats within the customs environment such as the trade of counterfeit goods, illicit financial flows, trafficking of people, drugs and weapons and money laundering- we have to manage these as well as protect our nations from COVID-19.”

The OCO Annual Conference was scheduled to take place in Cook Islands in July but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The Heads meeting tomorrow, chaired by Mr. Xavier Mitchell, Comptroller of the Cook Island Customs Service is expected to be attended by the 23 heads of Customs administrations in the Pacific.

During the virtual meeting, members will discuss issues relating to the OCO areas of work, key of which is the OCO Secretariat’s annual work program and budget to enable the continual delivery of technical assistance and capacity building for members.

Members will also discuss COVID-19 and the challenges the pandemic has posed on their respective countries and how they can work collaboratively with each other and regional and international partners to respond to these challenges.

A communique will be released after the meeting.

For more information, queries or interview requests, please email

About OCO: OCO is a grouping of 23 customs administrations in the Pacific region. It facilitates regional cooperation, information sharing and capacity building of its members with the overall target of supporting economic growth and improved border security in the Pacific.

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