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Vienna, 20.04.2017 Austrian customs administration initiative for trade and economic growth in the Eurasian continent Conference of customs directors general chaired by Austria

Vienna (OTS) - The World Customs Organisation (WCO) conference of customs directors general for the European region will take place in Vienna from 20 to 21 April 2017 under the chairmanship of Austria. The conference will address fundamental questions concerning a forward-looking customs clearing initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

The involvement of the Austrian Ministry of Finance in networked electronic customs procedures is aimed at enhancing the political objectives of the OSCE for Europe and parts of Asia by speeding up cross-border trade and increasing security against fraud. Interested countries will join the network step-by-step over a period of five years.

The procedure currently used by the Member States of the EU, together with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Turkey and Serbia as external partners, will serve as a model. The annual World Bank global logistics report, “Connecting to compete”, shows that the efficiency and quality of customs clearing is a key factor in the economic growth of a country or region.

“Austria has always acted as a bridge between the North and South, and East and West”, stated Austrian Minister of Finance Schelling as he welcomed the initiative of the Austrian customs administration. “Customs administrations are important managers of international trade – they ensure a rapid, secure flow of goods in compliance with certain rules designed to safeguard the public interest. For the benefit of us all, I therefore wish the WCO European region great success in its efforts to stimulate the economy of the region, and good results from this conference under the chairmanship of my administration.”

Austria is currently the chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and – represented by the Austrian Ministry of Finance and Austrian customs administration – also chair of the European region of the World Customs Organisation. The 53 Member States in this region are practically the same as those in the OSCE. In addition to the countries of the EU, the successor states of the former USSR and all Southern European countries, the WCO Europe region also includes Turkey, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.