Dubai Customs and UAE Federal Customs Authority host trade and supply chain meeting 5th WCO Global AEO Conference

HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Customs is hosting the 5th WCO Global Authorized Economic Operator Conference in cooperation with the UAE Federal Customs Authority, to be held virtually over three days between 25 and 27 May 2021. The Conference will present an important forum for the exchange of ideas and insights between trade and supply chain professionals and officials. The Conference brings together all stakeholders of global trade to explore the challenges, opportunities, and way forward for global trade under the Authorized Economic Operator programme. The Conference’s agenda will address such topics as security, risk management, customs clearance lifecycle, e-commerce integration, and new business models. 

The upcoming edition of the Conference is held under the headline “AEO 2.0: Advancing Towards New Horizons for Sustainable and Secure Trade”, with a busy programme that includes keynote speeches by several dignitaries: HE Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, CEO of International Chamber of Commerce – Dubai; HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, and Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, and Professor David Widdowson, CEO of the Centre for Customs and Excise Research at Charles Sturt University. The agenda additionally includes panels and roundtables tackling sustainable supply chains, cooperation between governments, intergovernmental agencies, and customs authorities, extending the AEO scope to e-commerce operators and MSMEs, in addition to addressing emerging risks, such as cyber attacks, exploitation attempts, and new technology-based threats. 

The Authorized Economic Operator programme is widely credited with facilitating trade during the critical early months of the Covid-19 pandemic – as a report published in late 2020 by Dubai Customs clearly indicates. The first few months of the pandemic saw many cases of panic-buying and fears of essential product shortages around the world – scenarios that never materialised thanks to the resilience of the global supply chain. 

Commenting on the announcement, HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, asserted Dubai’s progressive attitude toward the adoption of global trade systems, information exchange, and its readiness for strategic partnerships within the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) framework of the AEO programme. His Excellency went on to add: “Choosing Dubai as virtual host of the Conference reflects its leading global status as a facilitator of trade, as well as its position as a trusted partner for the implementation and development of the Authorized Economic Operator programme around the world.” 

Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, spoke about the risks and opportunities, saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of Customs-Business partnership in the wake of an unprecedented disruption of the world trade. Customs has managed to navigate the complexities imposed by the pandemic and the restrictions thereof owing to the cooperation and this Conference will allow us to discuss the lessons learned and the way forward. The AEO programme has grown markedly since it was first introduced in 2012, and we have witnessed the rapid development of national AEO programmes, mutual recognition agreements and other types of cooperation under the programme’s umbrella. In these times of uncertainty, the WCO wishes to reiterate its commitment to assist the customs community to make the global trade system safer, more reliable and more resilient than ever.”

Dubai Customs and the UAE Federal Customs Authority have announced registration is open to customs administrators, government entities, international organisations, private sector enterprises, researchers, innovators, academics and all parties with stake in international trade. Registration is available at this link:

Dubai Customs is one of the earliest public institutions in the Dubai and the entire Arabian Gulf region. The department introduced its AEO programme in 2015 and has in 2020 completed over 16 million transactions through the framework; an increase of 23% to the transactions completed in the previous year. It is also worth noting the Dubai Customs has adopted smart communications and service systems through which it receives and processes transactions.

The 5th WCO Global AEO Conference is sponsored by DP World, Nuctech Company Limited, CT Strategies, World Free Zones Organization, GTS, and Publican.

Dubai Customs:

Dubai Customs is a government authority in the emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, responsible for implementing and regulating customs procedures, facilitating smooth movement of legitimate trade, and supporting the emirate’s socioeconomic development.  One of the oldest public institutions in Dubai and the UAE, Dubai Customs is also known as ‘al Furdah’, Arabic for ‘berth’, and has since its foundation sustained Dubai’s reputation as a global trading hub.

Federal Customs Authority of the UAE:

The Federal Customs Authority (FCA) is a federal government authority in the United Arab Emirates responsible for setting customs policies, laws, and regulations, as well as overseeing all customs operations in coordination with local customs departments. FCA is additionally in charge of setting and adopting unified customs procedures for inspection, tariffs, information, customs licensing, and monitoring.

World Customs Organization:

The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. The WCO currently represents 183 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.