By Abdul Kerimkhanov
A four-day workshop for customs officers kicked off in Baku on October 15, as part of the joint project Hunter by the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan and the UK Border Guard.
The workshop is about identifying targets on Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR).
Speaking about customs cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UK at the opening ceremony of seminar, Customs service Major-General Javad Gasimov noted that the Hunter project, which is being implemented since 2018, is important in enhancing the capacity of customs officials, in sharing experience in risk management, exchanging views on border security and in cooperation on implementing modern technology.
It was emphasized that the project’s priority objectives are to simplify customs procedures for the Hunter project, to develop targeting systems with the use of new modern technologies, including the implementation of the State Customs Committee's API and PNR systems.
He informed the guests that the customs system was formed on the basis of modern and new challenges, taking into account international experience and introducing new management mechanisms.
During the workshop, experts from the UK National Rifle Association and UK Border Agency Bob Hilton and Debbie Tether will share information about "Introduction to Airline Risk Management", "Risk Management and Other Techniques", "Profiling and Risk Indicators" and on other topics. The workshop will include practical sessions as well.
James Sharp, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Azerbaijan, also delivered a speech at the seminar’s opening. He spoke about the relations between Azerbaijan and the UK, noting that recent projects in the development of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan have created additional opportunities for mutual cooperation.
Expressing satisfaction with cooperation in the field of customs between the two countries, Sharp stressed that Azerbaijan has taken important steps to develop the North-South and East-West transport corridors, adding that effective border control will play an important role in this area.
Gasimov also said that customs authorities will focus on ensuring economic security, regulating customs in more modern and flexible ways, creating a favorable business environment for foreign trade participants, and enhancing the competitiveness of transit corridors.
State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and State Secretariat for the Home Office on behalf of the UK Border Guard signed a joint statement in February 2019 to develop cooperation in building capacity of customs officers, to share advanced practice in the area of risk management, to exchange views on ensuring border security on the goods, travellers and transport vehicles crossing the state border.
The joint declaration was signed as part of the Hunter project funded by the UK border service. The declaration envisages creating international opportunities for analyzing information on cargos and persons crossing borders by simplifying customs and border procedures. API and PNR, as well as preventing transportation of goods and persons who are likely to harm the national interests of the countries are also among the goals of the project.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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