DUBAI: Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, has called for stronger international cooperation to enhance trade facilitation by better aligning customs procedures globally, reinforcing the vibrant role played by customs administrations worldwide in boosting trade growth.
“The Global Customs and Trade Facilitation Summit is a very essential event that would surely contribute into realizing these goals and giving global economy the momentum it needs,” he said. Dubai Customs’ senior official underscored that the fast developing global trade requires that customs authorities around the world adopt and implement best practices and standards, whether issued by the World Customs Organization or others. “They also need to pursue innovation, harness information technology, build human capacity and focus their efforts and processes towards facilitation of trade without losing focus on their core security mission of safeguarding communities.”
Ahmed Mahboob made these statements while addressing the “Global Customs and Trade Facilitation” summit in Global Trade Development Week-EMEA 2014, which is taking place on October 27-29 at Emirates Towers under the patronage of UAE Ministry of Economy. The three-day event includes four main summits in trade, finance, investment and customs, and brings together 600 multilateral government and business leaders and 120 high-profile speakers from 90 nations around the world.
The Global Customs and Trade Facilitation summit is held in strategic partnership with Dubai Customs. The newly-launched summit as part of this year’s GTDW programme of events intends to address the role of customs in reducing barriers to global trade. It highlights the importance of strengthening international cooperation and sharing of information among customs agencies and the business sector to ease and boost legitimate trade.
Welcoming the delegations participating in the summit, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, said: “The Global Trade Development Week is rightfully hosted by the United Arab Emirates due to its privileged position as a global and regional trading and business hub. The UAE enjoys such a deserved status owing to the nation’s continued efforts and dedication to deliver an exemplary economic model.”
He further noted that Dubai Customs – proceeding from the clairvoyant and forward-looking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness’s wise directives to work towards further diversification of our national economy – has sought to continually improve its business performance across all areas of customs work by putting in place every necessary facilitations to sustain the escalating growth of trade keeping a careful eye on trade compliance.
“Over the last ten years, Dubai’s foreign trade has experienced a five-time growth from AED 252 billion in 2003 to AED 1.329 trillion in 2013. During the first six months of 2014, it neared AED 654 billion, more than double of 2003’s overall figure,” he remarked. “Such growth in foreign trade is primarily attributed to Dubai’s colossal investment in infrastructure development, through trade-supporting projects including seaports, airports, free zones, roads, and border facilities,” Mahboob added. Keeping pace with the comprehensive infrastructural development in the emirate, says Ahmed Mahboob, Dubai Customs has embraced the latest of applications information technology has to offer.
“We have developed “Mirsal 2” system, which stands as a quantum leap in customs work today because of the huge potential and new technologies it utilizes, as well as its unique integration of various customs procedures in one single electronic platform. The system has saved more than 80% of the time required for the completion of customs formalities. Moreover, the smart government services launched by Dubai Customs last year have significantly expedited service delivery. Now our customers can submit their service requests 24/7 via smart phones wherever they are,” he said.
In terms of cargo screening and inspection, Dubai Customs has developed the “Risk Engine” tool whose mission is to identify and assess potential risks in commercial consignments prior to arrival.
This Pre-Risk Analysis mechanism has allowed electronic assessment and clearance of about 84% of non-risky transactions around the clock in less than 2 minutes without any human intervention. Likewise, the speed of inspection processes was also enhanced using an advanced container X-Ray screening device and system. Dubai Customs’ Director pointed out that “DC offers further facilitations to streamline trade, including the implementation of ATA Carnet for temporary admission of goods, B2G integrated electronic channel for clearing several consignments in a single transaction, in addition to other smart systems, such as e-Inspection, e-Clearance, Cargo Reconciliation, and post-Clearance Audit.
“All such customs facilitations and others have paid off, as the UAE ranked 1st in the MENA region and 3rd globally in the efficiency of customs procedures according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014,” Musabih said.
“Through advanced customs services and facilitations, Dubai Customs has managed to improve its customer satisfaction. We also pay utmost attention to partnership and cooperation with the business sector, with a view to creating an effective public-private interaction ground. In this perspective, we established an Advisory Board and launched “Irtibaat” initiative as part of synergy with the private sector,” he continued. Dubai Customs, he added, endeavours to keep abreast of the latest global best practices and criteria in the field of customs. “The 2013 WCO Columbus Diagnostic Mission Report, a program designed to develop customs work around the world, named Dubai Customs a role model in the local, regional and international levels. The report hailed Dubai Customs’ steadfast efforts to realize the vision of the World Customs Organization for the 21st century.”
Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, concluded on a good note that “The UAE’s winning right to host Expo 2020 in Dubai merely reflects the emirate’s gained foothold on the world trade landscape. Dubai Customs is committed to actively contribute to making Dubai Expo one of the best and most successful international exhibitions in history, in cooperation with other government agencies. We promise to deliver a perfect exhibition experience to the world, by putting in place superior customs services and facilitations for the mega exposition, including the launch of a smart channel dedicated especially for exhibitors to streamline and expedite cargo clearance through a 24/7 automated customs clearance system.”