In a bid to prevent drug trafficking and other illicit cross‑border activities, a workshop on Container Control Program is currently underway at the World Customs Organization Regional Training Centre in Nasese, Suva.
The two‑week long workshop was officially opened by the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes yesterday, who states that Australia remains committed to supporting and working collaboratively with regional partners to strengthen borders in preventing the trade in illicit goods and also to ensure that correct revenues and taxes are paid on legitimate goods.
Feakes says under this particular initiative, Australia has partnered with both the World Customs Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to deliver a global product that demonstrates the significance and importance of multinational collaboration in the fight against transnational crime. He says as Australia’s neighbor and friend, and as the logistical hub for the Pacific, Fiji was identified to be the first nation in the region to host this program.
Fiji Revenue and Customs Service CEO Visvanath Das says that the incredible volume of containers travelling the seas from country to country and continent to continent, make them targets for actors in the illicit drug trade, and even more so, for actors involved in producing and delivering counterfeit goods and merchandise.
Das adds the global dependency on maritime trade, combined with not only sophisticated concealment methods employed by traffickers or counterfeiters, but also diverse trafficking routes, make successful interdiction and intervention difficult.
He says this programme will be critical to how they monitor the trade supply chain. He says it is also his hope that the Container Control Program will bring in the border agencies and have them trained and equipped in the framework of the program and all working closely together.
Das stresses they all have a responsibility to promote sustainable economic growth and more importantly, they need to protect the current and future generations from the harmful effects of illegal trade.
The program is sponsored by the Australian Border Force.
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