The Customs and Excise Department participates actively in the World Customs Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to the simplification and harmonization of Customs systems and procedures, advancement of Customs techniques, improvement of Customs operations and promotion of cooperation between governments to facilitate international trade. The WCO has grouped its Members into six regions. Hong Kong, China belongs to the WCO Asia Pacific Region.
Hong Kong has been a member of the WCO since 1987. In the same year, the WCO established its first Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO). On behalf of the WCO Asia Pacific Region, the Department hosted this first WCO RILO till December 1998 with the aim of enhancing intelligence exchange amongst its members in the Region. The Department was also elected in 2000 as Vice-Chair of the WCO (representing the Asia Pacific Region) for a two-year tenure. During the Vice-Chairmanship, the Department represented members of the Asia Pacific Region in WCO meetings and coordinated the formulation of regional plans to strengthen enforcement cooperation. All along, the Department actively participates in the WCO activities and regional events, and was elected to represent the Asia Pacific Region in the WCO Policy Commission between 2011 and 2014.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an inter-governmental forum for member economies to informally exchange views on trade and economic issues.
The Department has taken part in APEC business since March 1993. It is mainly involved in the affairs of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, a sub-forum under the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment, which aims to simplify and harmonise regional Customs procedures to ensure that goods and services move efficiently and safely through the region, and to reconcile and facilitate border control.
To strengthen bilateral Customs cooperation against cross-boundary offences, the Department has, since 1991, entered into legally non-binding Customs Cooperative Arrangements with 31 Customs administrations of the countries and regions including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji, France, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macao, China, Madagascar, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, the Netherlands, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of the Congo, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vietnam.
Besides, the HKSAR Government concluded a legally binding Customs Cooperation Agreement with the European Community (now renamed as European Union) in 1999 to enhance the cooperation between the Department and the Customs administrations of the EU member states.