U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus reaffirmed the United States’ longstanding commitment to global customs cooperation and emphasized the need to sustain good governance in his remarks before the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council in Brussels last week. The occasion marked Magnus’ first official visit to Europe and was the first time a CBP Commissioner has addressed the world’s foremost customs body since 2015.
“Our partnership with the World Customs Organization is vital to achieving our mission of facilitating legitimate trade and travel while protecting Americans from illicit and often dangerous goods,” CBP Commissioner Magnus said. “The WCO Council is an important forum for sharing best practices with our international partners and for working together to solve challenges shared by the global customs community.”
During the WCO Council meeting, Commissioner Magnus underscored the importance of building trust and promoting transparent decision-making. He applauded the WCO for emphasizing governance and accountability in its new strategic plan while calling for greater cybersecurity and privacy protections in WCO data initiatives.
Commissioner Magnus discussed CBP’s ongoing efforts to help supply chains recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting consumers from illicit trade. He called attention to the adverse effects that fragile borders have on global trade and urged the WCO to issue comprehensive guidance for customs agencies navigating state-on-state conflict.
Commissioner Magnus also emphasized CBP’s commitment to environmental stewardship and urged the WCO to further strengthen cooperation on environmental enforcement and explore measures to promote sustainable and resilient customs operations.
Following the Council meeting, Commissioner Magnus announced that the United States intends to nominate Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Ian Saunders to become the next Secretary General of the WCO. If elected by a majority of customs director generals who attend the June 2023 Council session, Saunders will become the first American official to serve as WCO Secretary General since 1999.
CBP represents the U.S. Government at the WCO. The United States joined the WCO in 1970 and has been a leader in developing and implementing the SAFE Framework of Standards, the Harmonized System, the WCO Data Model, and other WCO tools that secure and facilitate international trade.
The WCO is the independent, international body dedicated to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations. The organization’s 184 members collaborate to establish standards and instruments that reduce the costs of international trade, facilitate the cross-border flow of essential goods, and protect society from unsafe products.