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July 19, 2023

Ian Saunders Elected as New Secretary General of the WCO

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July 19, 2023

On June 24, US candidate Ian Saunders was elected as the new Secretary General for the World Customs Organization (WCO). As a deeply respected member of the global customs community with over 30 years of experience in customs and international trade, Saunders was nominated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2022. His five-year term begins on January 1, 2024. As the new Secretary General, Saunders will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the WCO Secretariat.

Saunders is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Global Markets, at the International Trade Administration. He is responsible for developing programs, policies, and strategies designed to strengthen the United States’ commercial position in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to his current appointment, Saunders served as Assistant Commissioner for International Affairs at the CBP, where he led the coordination of all CBP foreign initiatives, programs, and activities. Saunders has been at the forefront of customs’ evolution and is a strong advocate for coordinated and safe border management to counter supply chain disruptions, criminal exploitation of e-commerce shipments, the adverse effects of climate change, and other contemporary threats.

As the new Secretary General, Saunders is committed to ensuring predictability and the consistency of customs for the trade community and the public through implementing existing WCO tools, harnessing new technologies, ensuring good governance, and further enhancing customs capacity building efforts. Overall, Saunders believes that inclusivity is fundamental to the continued success of the WCO and to the effectiveness of global customs cooperation.

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