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World Customs Organization welcomes new Secretary General


Mr. Ian Saunders officially takes office as the new Secretary General of the World Customs Organization.


03 January 2024 marked a milestone in the history of the World Customs Organization (WCO) as Mr. Ian Saunders officially takes office as the new Secretary General.

This change in WCO leadership was celebrated by a handover ceremony from Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the outgoing Secretary General, at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, symbolizing both continuity and the opening of a new chapter for the organization.


In June 2023, at the WCO's annual Council sessions, Mr. Saunders was elected by the Members, represented by Directors General of Customs from around the world. His nomination by U.S. Customs and Border Protection was not only a reflection of his outstanding career and vision for the future of global Customs operations, but also of the global confidence in his ability to guide the WCO through the ever-evolving landscape of international trade and security.


As Mr. Saunders embarks on his five-year term, he brings a clear and forward-looking agenda to the forefront. In his own words: “While respecting the WCO’s rich past, there is a need to innovate and adapt to modern challenges. I intend to lead the Organization by forging strong and enduring public-private partnerships, leveraging technology, and promoting inclusiveness for effective global Customs cooperation, ensuring transparency and openness as fundamental principles of good governance.” This statement was made during his first address to the organization, setting a tone of progressive leadership and commitment to global collaboration.


The WCO Members and the Secretariat staff extend a warm welcome to Mr. Saunders, and collectively look forward to this new phase in the WCO’s history which starts under his leadership. His tenure at the WCO commences at a pivotal time, presenting the opportunity for significant advancements in the world of Customs.

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