In a bid to prevent drug trafficking and other illicit cross‑border activities, Fiji participated in a workshop on Container Control Program at the World Customs Organization Regional Training Centre in Nasese, Suva.
The two‑week long Container Control Program was sponsored by the Australian Border Force and was officially opened by the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes.
He stated that Australia remains committed to supporting and working collaboratively with regional partners to strengthen borders. This is to prevent the trade in illicit goods and also to ensure that correct revenues and taxes are paid on legitimate goods.
Feakes said under this particular initiative, Australia has partnered with both the World Customs Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to deliver a global solution that demonstrates the significance and importance of multinational collaboration in the fight against transnational crime.
Fiji Revenue and Customs Service CEO Visvanath Das said that the incredible volume of containers travelling the seas from country to country, make them targets for criminals in the illicit drug trade and those involved in producing and delivering counterfeit goods and merchandise.
The global dependency on maritime trade, combined with sophisticated concealment methods and diverse trafficking routes, make successful interdiction and intervention of criminals difficult.
This program will be critical to how Fiji monitor the trade supply chain. Das stresses they all have a responsibility to promote sustainable economic growth and more importantly, they need to protect the current and future generations from the harmful effects of illegal trade.
Latest figures show a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020, with a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea.