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CNMI Customs will modernise its operations and adhere to international standards, division director Jose Mafnas said at the start of a five-day workshop on the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Revised Kyoto Convention.
Mafnas said the workshop was attended by 32 participants including Customs personnel and supervisors from Saipan, Tinian and Rota, as well as enforcement officers from the Division of Revenue and Taxation.
The workshop is being held in the Napu Room of the Pacific Islands Club.
Oceania Customs Organisation operations manager Tevita Tupou, who is conducting the workshop, said one of the key subjects of discussion is the Revised Kyoto Convention.
Developed in 2006 by the World Customs Organisations, the Revised Kyoto Convention is the main trade facilitation customs convention, he said, adding that it focuses on transparency, use of information technology, risk management and audit-based controls, coordinated interventions with other border agencies, and trade partnerships.
“We are looking at some of the gaps that exist within customs legislation and identifying those gaps so we can make recommendations on how we can narrow those gaps,” Tupou told Variety in an interview.
He said it is important for CNMI customs legislation to be aligned with the Revised Kyoto Convention which sets the global standard legislation for all customs administrations around the world
The Oceania Customs Organisation will work with CNMI customs in modernizing itself so it can conform with international standards, Tupou added.
The biggest challenge is changing one’s mindset, he said. “It is important around the Pacific to be able to address issues like terrorist financing, financial crime and elements of corruption.”
During the workshop on Monday, Tupou emphasised the need to balance facilitating trade with needed controls.
In the Pacific region, he said, there are about 3,300 islands which pose a great challenge to maritime borders.
CNMI Customs Director Jose Mafnas said the workshop will raise their knowledge about the Revised Kyoto Convention, and increase the transparency and efficiency of customs management while reducing transaction costs, ensuring effective control, and providing safety and security to trade activities.
SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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