The World Customs Organization (WCO) has just published the WCO E-Commerce Package to provide guidance to customs administrations on establishing or enhancing the legislative, policy and operational framework for managing cross-border e-commerce.
The package includes the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and the accompanying WCO Council Resolution adopted in June 2018, as well as various tools adopted in June 2019, supporting the effective and harmonized implementation of the various standards contained in the Framework.
“Given the phenomenal growth in cross-border e-commerce and its associated opportunities and challenges, Customs administrations are urged to implement the Framework of Standards in a phased manner, based on their national priorities, specificities, internal procedures, and resource availability,” said WCO in a release.
To ensure its wide application, it is recommended that Customs administrations implement the Framework of Standards in close cooperation with other relevant national government agencies and e-commerce stakeholders, it added.
To support the expeditious and harmonized implementation of the Framework of Standards, the WCO said it is ready to assist member customs administrations based on their respective needs and requirements.
At the same time, the WCO has published the 2019 edition of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Compendium, which offers a concise and structured overview of existing AEO programs around the world and of Mutual Recognition Arrangements/Agreements (MRAs) signed between countries.
The compendium provides a brief summary of each AEO program, comprising information on accreditation criteria, procedures and expected benefits, as well as associated MRAs. AEO programs and MRAs that are in the pipeline are also listed.
Since the publication of the 2018 edition, a further six AEO programs have come to light, bringing the total to 83 programs. The number of MRAs is also growing, with 74 bilateral and four plurilateral/regional MRAs compared to 57 in the 2018 edition.
A quick analysis reveals that AEO program certification and implementation are increasingly aligned with the standards and criteria stipulated in the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards.
For the first time, the compendium also provides information on existing Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements and on methodologies used to compare AEO programs that would be useful for mutual recognition processes.