JOINT PRESS RELEASE
[6 February, SUVA] The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) today signed an agreement under the European Union funded ‘Improving Pacific Islands Customs and Trade’ (IMPACT) Project that aims to improve Customs processes and boost trade in 15 Pacific nations.
Through the Agreement, UNCTAD will provide 1.5 million EURO to OCO to implement IMPACT Project activities to improve trade facilitation and harmonise customs operations in Fiji, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
UNCTAD and OCO will assist the countries to review or draft legislation where required as well as strengthen Customs-Business partnership among other actions. OCO will also receive support to develop a pool of experts and trainers.
The agreement was signed by the Chief of Resources Management Service for UNCTAD, Mr Adnan T Issa and the OCO Head of Secretariat, Ms Nancy Oraka at OCO’s Regional office in Suva.
Regional Coordinator for ASYCUDA/UNCTAD in the Pacific, Mr Jayvee Santos acknowledged that the “partnership with OCO [and MSG] will ensure the sustainability of trade reform initiatives beyond the project life through the respective Secretariats’ mandate to support their members.”
Ms Oraka thanked UNCTAD for the timely support towards OCO, which would positively impact its members who are always in need of resources.
“Improving and strengthening trade facilitation and border management is critical to be on par with the rest of the world,” Ms Oraka said.
“We want to build and strengthen a Customs Framework and System that can stand the test of time through a strong legislative framework, a modernised digital system but at the same time make sure that it is simple and easy for both Customs and the public to utilise,” Ms Oraka added.
“There has been numerous gap analysis conducted in the past and we will continue to conduct gap analysis moving into the future. We need to be proactive in taking steps to close the gaps, if not they will continue to be gaps. We look forward to strengthening our capacity building program, our people are our greatest assets and investing in them ensures we have a strong, competent Oceania Customs workforce. We are grateful to the EU and UNCTAD for this assistance.”
By uniting resources and expertise, the Agreement will enable both organisations to mutually support each other in increasing regional and international trade in the Pacific, as well as to strengthen OCO capacity through technical expertise, leadership, and statistical capacity.
The IMPACT project is part of the EU’s Pacific Regional Integration Support (PRISE) programme, which aims to increase the quality and the volume of goods traded intra-regionally between Pacific Island Countries and internationally.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Phone: +679 9781541
Oceania Customs Organisation
Name: Pranit Kumar
Designation: IT and Communications Officer
Phone: +679 3313110