On 14 December 2020, DG TAXUD Director-General Mr Gerassimos Thomas and World Customs Organisation (WCO) Secretary General Mr Kunio Mikuriya signed an Administrative Arrangement between DG TAXUD and WCO by which the Customs Laboratories European Network (CLEN) was recognised as the WCO Regional Customs Laboratory for Europe.
The CLEN currently gathers 78 customs laboratories and 22 mobile laboratories, highly experimented and equipped, and nearly all accredited by ISO. The network, coordinated by DG TAXUD, aims to ensure that customs laboratories can analyse all types of goods and give a valid scientific opinion. It also organises seminars, training courses, proficiency tests to evaluate the performance of laboratories and maintains the databases needed by the laboratories in their day-to-day work.
The EU has already previously supported the tariff and scientific activities of WCO, first at the level of individual Member States and since its establishment in 1999, by CLEN. The EU has trained customs officers and customs chemists, opened the doors to its activities and helped some WCO members set up customs laboratory themselves. The Administrative Arrangement formally recognises this work, and sets a framework to widen the co-operation between the WCO and CLEN.