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23 November 2012

WCO and INTERPOL bolster fight against transnational organized crime

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, and the Secretary General of INTERPOL, Ronald K. Noble, met at WCO Headquarters today to reaffirm cooperation between the two organizations in their efforts to bolster the fight against transnational organized crime.

INTERPOL and the WCO have a long history of cooperation, especially in the fight against crime and other cross-border criminal activities, and the meeting between the Secretaries General will go a long way towards strengthening the partnership between customs and police at the international and national level.

Regarding cooperation between INTERPOL and the WCO in enforcement operations, the Secretaries General acknowledged customs’ primary responsibility for cross-border movement of goods and recognized that operations carried out by customs and police should be well coordinated to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure synergy between the goals and objectives of each organization. 

The Secretaries General reaffirmed the roles and mandates of their respective organizations, agreed to coordinate their activities more efficiently at the international level, emphasized the need for customs and police to work together more closely at the national level, and committed to enhancing future cooperation and coordination between the WCO and INTERPOL.

“Discussions with the Secretary General of INTERPOL have further cemented long-standing relations between the WCO and the world’s international police organization,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. “Building on our common goal of combating crime, efforts to coordinate activities and strengthen cooperation will positively impact on both organizations,” he added.

Whilst at WCO Headquarters, INTERPOL’s Secretary General was given a demonstration of IPM (Interface Public Members), the WCO’s anti-counterfeiting and piracy tool, which facilitates exchange of information between Customs officials on the ground and right holders, in addition to providing information distinguishing fakes from genuine products covering 400 brands to date.

Following the IPM demonstration, INTERPOL’s Secretary General said that ‘it is an excellent tool for Customs to combat IPR infringements’, with both Secretaries General agreeing that as IPM could have a broader impact on the fight against criminal activities, customs should be encouraged to make the tool available to police and other law enforcement agencies.