The United States government hosted recently a workshop in Manila for Customs, Coast Guard, and legal officials from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan to strengthen regional cooperation in enforcing international maritime sanctions.
The event, held on Feb. 28 to March 2 under the auspices of the US Embassy’s Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) Program and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, trained participants on the impact of sanctions on key stakeholders; regional examples of sanctionsevasion; challenges to the enforcement of sanctions; and models for implementing relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The delegates also participated in tabletop exercises where they applied skills in investigating and preventing sanctions evasion.
“Through this workshop, participants developed closer working relationships to jointly address sanctions evasion activities in the region,” the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement.
“This event is a great opportunity for the delegates to meet and share each nation’s response to maritime sanctions evasion activities. The workshop and relationships developed will provide contacts for future collaboration and cooperation,” EXBS Regional Advisor Ransom Avilla said at the workshop’s opening ceremony.
U.S. State Department’s Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) Program, which is under the Export Control Cooperation Office of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Security and
Nonproliferation, seeks to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, destabilizing and irresponsible transfers of conventional arms and illegal exports of strategic goods by building an effective national strategic trade control system worldwide.
Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Domingo and Philippine Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) officer-in-charge director Janice Dimayacyac attended the workshop.
“We in Southeast Asia are located in a strategic area prone to various sanctions evasion tactics,” STMO OIC Director Dimayacyac said.
“I hope that this workshop would facilitate that dialogue and strengthen regional cooperation as we work our way towards preventing these illicit trade activities within our region and complying with our obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540,” she added.
While in Manila, the participants also visited the Philippine National Coast Watch Center for a briefing on the center’s functions and its best practices in countering maritime threats.