Connecting customs for growth
The International Customs Day 2012 is dedicated to "interconnectivity", and how customs can connect where borders divide. It provides a good opportunity to reflect on how customs can contribute to smoother and safer trade, generating growth and jobs.
Within the EU, businesses and citizens have benefited from the Customs Union for more than 40 years. The European Commission and 27 national administrations have found ways to interconnect and work as one. Customs administrations and traders operate on the basis of a mutual trust contract enabling goods to be delivered directly at destination. There is space for improvement and new measures are on the way. EU customs is working on the IT development, to bring even more benefits to traders and consumers.
By connecting with international partners we multiply the benefits. We build relations based on mutual confidence and common interests. We strive for cost-efficient solutions ensuring secure and smooth trade flows - for instance through mutual recognition of trade partnership programmes. We tackle harmful phenomena such as cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting in a more coherent manner by engaging our neighbours and strategic partners.
On this International Customs Day, I wish to draw the attention of EU citizens and businesses to the concrete benefits and real value of their Customs Union and our close collaboration with international partners.
The EU sets a good example for economic integration all over the world, proving that you have to connect to grow!