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Secretary-General of WCO visits the Department of Customs and Excise at the Institute of Tax Law

On the 6th of February 2014, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), visited the Department of Customs and Excise at the Institute of Tax Law. In 2005, the University of Münster concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the WCO - so far, the only educational institution in Germany to have done so. Professor Wolffgang is a member of the WCO’s academic advisory board.

Professor Wolffgang welcomed the “world’s top customs official“. 179 states are members of this international organization, which is located in Brussels. The Secretary-General was particularly interested in the “Master of Customs, Taxation and International Trade law” which is offered by the University of Münster in cooperation with the AWA FOREIGN TRADE ACADEMY. Dr. Mikuriya emphasized the need for postgraduate courses designed for senior customs practitioners in the public and private sectors. A better knowledge of customs law and related subjects would facilitate cooperation between customs and industry and promote global trade.
A study into the East African Community (EAC), which is currently being carried out at the Institute, was also discussed at the meeting. The union between Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda is gradually developing into a functioning customs union. The research project investigates whether EAC states could develop into a political federation with regard to international trade and customs development.

Finally, attention turned to a project that aims to improve the security of the postal supply chain. This involves research into risk analysis techniques in order to identify suspicious packages as well as the development and field testing of detection technology. As part of the project, legal experts are tasked with scrutinizing the various technical and organizational solutions put forward to ensure they comply with customs, postal, and data protection law as well as fundamental rights at national and European level.

Dr. Mikuriya acknowledged the importance of the projects presented and underlined the value that the WCO places on customs research at university level. For Prof. Wolffgang, the General Secretary’s visit is the culmination of a close and long-standing cooperation between the WCO and the University both in education and research.

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