“Contemporary Issues and Challenges in Customs Management”
The INCU Baku Regional Office jointly with the Academy of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan organized the 2nd INCU International Student Conference with the theme “Contemporary Issues and Challenges in Customs Management”, which was held from 3 to 7 July 2017 in Gusar, Azerbaijan.
One of the aims of the conference was to provide a platform for sharing research findings, exchanging experiences and developing professional networks and collaborative relationships among the participants including teaching, training and conducting scientific research in the field of Customs.
More than 150 delegates from over 30 countries and representatives of four international organisations attended the conference including two Nobel Prize Laureattes in Economics.
The conference included 6 plenary sessions with some 60 presentations delivered over a 3-day period on a range of topics including:
- Role of customs management in trade facilitation
- International practice in customs legislation modernization
- Best practices in customs
- Digital Customs/e-Customs, e-trade and customs data analysis
- Knowledge-based customs education (skills and competencies, etc)
- Customs to Business partnership.
Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Professor Aydin Aliyev, President of the International Network of Customs Universities, Professor David Widdowson, Director-General of Uruguay National Customs Directorate, Enrique Cannon, and Georgian Customs Director-General, Vladimir Hundadze delivered opening speeches.
Professor Aydin Aliyev noted that ensuring the independence and security during the globalization period we live in is one of the most important missions. He said that “The Customs Service is one of the main attributes of the independence of each State,” adding that today the Customs Service of Azerbaijan assures the country’s economic security, fiscal policy implementation, prevention of smuggling, plays an important role in facilitating international trade.
The Chairman of the State Customs Committee also pointed out that the Customs Service of Azerbaijan attaches special importance to strengthening cooperation in the field of customs, modernization and improvement of the professionalism of the personnel, and this conference will contribute to the achievement of this goal. Saying that the conference is intended for students studying economics and customs, Professor Aliyev vision is to create unity between Customs and science, and to increase knowledge and experience of young researchers and students.
Enrique Cannon, Director-General of Uruguay National Customs Directorate, said the conference was dedicated to a very important topic such as urgent issues and challenges in customs administrations and he was pleased with it. Mr Cannon also pointed out that customs will continue to play a special role in future of international trade.
In turn, Director-General of Georgian Customs, Mr Vladimir Khodzadze expressed his gratitude for the invitation to the conference and wished it success. He briefly spoke about the situation of international trade , the reforms to be carried out in the customs bodies and the work need to be done to fully respond to the challenges of the modern economy.
The President of INCU, Professor David Widdowson, also expressed his gratitude to the Azerbaijan Customs Academy and Azerbaijan Customs for organising the conference. Professor Widdowson said that INCU International Student Conferences, which have been initiated by the Azerbaijan Customs, have already played an important role in raising the academic standing of the Customs profession.
An honorary guest and a keynote speaker of the conference was Professor Edward Prescott of Arizona State University, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics. Professor Prescott delivered a lecture on the topic “The Current State of the US Economy”. During the discussion, Professor Prescott made positive remarks on the reforms in Azerbaijan’s economy, the country’s economic potential and its future prospects. He noted that a successful policy has been pursued in the recent years to diversify the economy of Azerbaijan and to develop the potential of the non-oil sector, especially in the field of agriculture.
Another honorary guest and keynote speaker, Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Nobel Prize Laureate Christopher Pissarides, delivered a lecture on “Robots and Action in Artificial Intelligence”. Referring to the threat of artificial intelligence (AI), namely the threat of resulting people’s unemployment and impact of AI onhuman labor, Prof. Pissarides talked about the future of the labour market. He also noted ways to achieve sustainable economic growth in the world are unequivocally implemented by high technology, which in turn creates certain problems in the labor market. Christopher Pissarides emphasized that services to increase productivity should be more efficient leading to cost reduction and product cost optimisation. Comparing the effects of technology on gross domestic product of a number of countries, Prof. Pissarides also pointed out that technology was not applied at the same level in different sectors of the economy of these countries.
The Official Closing of the 2nd INCU International Student Conference was held on 7 July 2017. Head of INCU Secretariat, Dr Mikhail Kashubsky and Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Prof. Aydin Aliyev both expressed gratitude to participants and acknowledged success of the INCU International Student Conference and its significant benefits to younger generation of customs researchers and professionals, as well as it’s important role in strengthening international customs cooperation and capacity building.
In addition to working sessions, the conference also included visitings to Guba Genocide Memorial Complex, the WCO Regional Dog Training Center and WCO Europe Regional Office for Capacity Building in Baku and a city tour of Baku.
The conference was attended by representatives from Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation Senegal, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the United States, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. A representative of the World Customs Organization’s Capacity Building Directorate also participated in the conference.