UAE, Netherlands sign customs cooperation agreement

August 31, 2014 1:00 pm

Represented by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA), the UAE and the Customs Administration of the Netherlands initialed yesterday a bilateral agreement on customs technical cooperation, so as to enhance mutual cooperation, and share information and experience in the customs field.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Saud Al-Aqrouby, Director of International Relations at the FCA during the visit paid by the UAE delegation to The Hague, and by Rob van Kuik, Director of the Netherlands Customs Administration, in presence of Adil AlAmiri, Third Secretary UAE Embassy in the Hague, as well as some customs officials from both countries.

On the sidelines of the visit, the UAE delegation held a meeting with Angelique Berg, Director General of the Netherlands Customs and Indirect Taxation. On the day subsequent to the conclusion of the agreement, a field visit was paid to the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe and world, to check the stages and mechanisms of customs work, the procedures and tools used in goods inspection and container scanning. A working paper was discussed about enforcing and building the customs capacity in the Netherlands in the future.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FCA Acting Director General, said the UAE is keen on enhancing and promoting cooperation with trade partners, maximize the economic value added through a strategic plan to build the FCA capacity, put the commercial partnership relations in a legal framework most notably the bilateral agreements on customs technical cooperation so as to ensure the exchange of information and experience between both sides.

Signing bilateral agreements with trade partners contributes to exchanging information and experience between both parties, in a way that enhances the capacities of the local customs authority to confront the challenges facing the customs administrations around the world, Al Bustani added. Concluding this agreement with the Netherlands is part of the FCA’s plan to achieve strategic goals, namely protecting the security of society, facilitating trade, and bolstering cooperation with other countries worldwide.

Al Bustani highlighted that many countries across the world wish to sign agreements on customs technical cooperation with the UAE, thanks to its prominent position on the world trade map, solid performance of the local customs sector as testified by the World Customs Organization’s (WCO), and high competitiveness of the state in customs clearance and release of goods and commodities with simple procedures.

The Netherlands is one of the most important states on the economic aspect in Europe and has close trade ties with the UAE. With growing diplomatic relations between the two countries, this mutual commercial relationship is increasingly growing, Al Bustani added, noting that the Netherlands is one of the UAE’s strategic partners. The agreement will enhance the commercial and economic ties between both countries and increase mutual trade movement.

On another hand, Al-Aqrouby said the agreement with the Netherlands provides a legal basis for direct cooperation and communication with the customs authorities in both countries, and provides an opportunity to exchange information and take mutual steps to control smuggling and violation of customs rules, in addition to sharing the best experience and applying mutual educational activities.

The agreement contributes to exchanging information and expertise on customs missions and policies, as well as training in the field of customs procedures, inspection and surveillance. It also bolsters and promotes trade exchange and economic ties, and protects the society from illegal commercial practices through exchanging information and expertise on customs missions in both countries, he added.

The period from 2009 to 2013-end saw a remarkable increase in trade volume, as the mutual trade volume stood at AED 32.8bn, Al-Aqrouby said, adding the Netherlands is a destination of the UAE exports and re-exports which reached AED 3bn and AED 5bn, respectively. Meanwhile, imports stood at AED 24.8bn during the same period.

Al-Aqrouby added the bilateral agreements ensure the accurate calculation and collection of customs duties, taxes and other charges on exports and imports, and the implementation of the judgments issued on prohibition, restriction and monitoring. They also provide suitable climate for bolstering and promoting trade exchange and economic ties in general, as well as sharing experience and expertise between both countries.