Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director-General of Dubai Customs, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, addressing the gathering Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: A new initiative will see authorities in Dubai coordinate with international agencies to crackdown on illegal trade in substances harmful to the environment, it was announced on Monday.

The announcement about the project, called ‘Green Customs’, came on the sidelines of the opening of Dubai Customs Week, which runs till January 31.

Green Customs will enhance the capacity of customs and other relevant border control officers to monitor and facilitate legitimate trade while detecting and preventing illegal trade in “environmentally-sensitive” commodities. These commodities include ozone depleting substances (ODS), toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes, endangered species and “living-modified organisms”.

More details on the initiative are expected to be revealed at a later stage.

Officials listen to the opening remarks Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Youth Councils

Dubai Customs also launched its Youth Councils as part of a wider nationwide drive to upskill young talents. Hussain Al Fardan, Senior Head of Innovation Centre at Dubai Customs, said: “The UAE is recognised globally for being on the cutting edge of government innovation and leading the way on global challenges. One of the visions of the UAE is to empower Emirati youth to lead the world in every field and in every international benchmark.”

The Dubai Customs Youth Council will be established in line with the standards of the Federal Youth Authority.

At the event, Dubai Customs honored the creative employees of determination (staff with special needs) in recognition of the innovative ideas and solutions they submitted through smart channels.

Employees of determination honoured at the event Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Customs Week

The Dubai Customs Week is being held for the fifth time. This year’s edition is titled ‘Customs Innovations for Future Generations’.

“The Week will raise awareness around the customs role in achieving sustainable development, and securing the borders. There will be 23 activities and initiatives during the week-long event,” said Al Fardan.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director-General of Dubai Customs, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporatiom, who inaugurated the Dubai Customs Week, said: “The World Customs Organisation is dedicating 2023 to nurturing the next generation - promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing and professional pride in Customs. Innovation is a strategic priority to us, and the Dubai Customs Strategic Plan 2021-2026 stands on five main principles including innovation.”

Musabih inaugurated the Week in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Port and Customs Department; Ahmed Abdullah Bin Lahej Al Falasi; Director-General of Customs at the Federal Customs Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security; Mohammed Mir Abdul Rahman, Director of Seaports and Customs Department at Sharjah Ports, Customs and Free Zones Authority; Rashid Mohammed Hammad, Director-General of Fujairah Customs Department, and Majid Abdullah Al Osaimi, Chairman of the Asian Paralympic Committee.

Overcoming challenges

During the conference, Musabih said the customs sector in the country has played a major role in facilitating and maintaining the continuity and flow of the supply chain relying on a sophisticated technological infrastructure, with all smart channels working round the clock seven days a week without any human intervention, enabling the clients to complete their transactions from anywhere.

“During 2020, global supply chains and all passenger traffic were affected by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite this global crisis, the UAE succeeded in overcoming its effects and making a rapid recovery thanks to the vision and directives of its wise leadership,” he added.

Cementing trade

Musabih said the customs sector contributed to cementing mutual trade agreements with India, Israel, turkey and Indonesia.

“This boosted the value and size of trade to more than Dh1.6 trillion in the first nine months of last year, amid expectations to break the Dh2 trillion barrier at the end of 2022. Number of passengers through the UAE airports skyrocketed to more than 101 million passengers by the end of last year.”

At the Dubai Customs Week, Musabih also said the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), recently launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will help boost the emirate’s economic ambitions and double its external trade adding more trade corridors to the emirate with 400 new cities around the world.

Smart channels

Al Falasi, who is Director General of Customs at the Federal Customs Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, said: “The Customs sector in the UAE is performing well in all aspects, in line with the directives of our leadership, to build a bright future on solid foundations. We provide our services through 100 per cent digital services, and customs administrations were able to achieve optimal employment of human and financial resources, raise efficiency and productivity, and innovate smart systems and leading programs to run the inspection processes, projects and customs platforms.”

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Fighting crime

He added: “The customs sector was also able to curb smuggling and curtail organised crime networks, thanks to the efficiency of customs administrations, international cooperation, and the exchange of knowledge and expertise. We are confident that in light of the Projects of the 50 and the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, customs sector in the country will be safer and brighter for the benefit of our country and the world. Customs administrations in the country made 19,741 seizures, including 6,511 seizures of narcotic substances in 2022.”

Ahmed Abdullah Bin Lahej Al Falasi Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Al Osaimi, chairman of the Asian Paralympic Committee, told Gulf News the UAE is a role model when it comes to protecting the society and securing the borders against all smuggling attempts.