WCO working group completes final draft of e-commerce framework of standards

WCO working group completes final draft of e-commerce framework of standards

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The World Customs Organization (WCO) said the draft “Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce” has been finalized and will be submitted for consideration and adoption.

The WCO Working Group on E-Commerce (WGEC) met for the third time at the WCO headquarters in Brussels from April 9 to 12, 2018 to work on the final draft of the framework, the organization said in a statement.

This meeting involved more than 150 delegates from customs administrations, other government agencies, the private sector, other international organizations, e-vendors/platforms, express service providers, postal operators, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and academia.

The framework is seen to provide “a globally harmonized approach to e-commerce to ensure the speedy delivery of parcels across borders, while ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements including safety and security and revenue collection.”

This draft framework will be submitted to the April 2018 Permanent Technical Committee and the June 2018 Policy Commission and Council for their consideration and adoption, said WCO.

The goal of the WGEC is to “deliver a pragmatic and standardized framework on cross-border E-Commerce that could optimally meet expectations of all stakeholders,” WCO further said.

“This Framework of Standards is expected to be a comprehensive instrument for assisting WCO Members in developing E-Commerce strategic and operational frameworks, working in close cooperation with E-Commerce stakeholders.”

The framework will be equally useful for members who are seeking to enhance existing frameworks in order to effectively meet the requirements of new and evolving business models.

Going forward, WCO said, the framework will be supported by an implementation strategy and action plan, as well as a robust capacity building mechanism to ensure its harmonized and expeditious implementation, based on national and regional needs and imperatives.

The group also held a preliminary discussion on the data elements for effective risk management and speedy clearance of e-commerce shipments, together with who would have that data and who could provide it in a timely manner.

In addition, the WGEC approved an updated version of the Immediate Release Guidelines that have been adapted to the e-commerce environment for supporting an expeditious release/clearance of increasing cross-border e-commerce shipments and parcels.

Regarding the next steps, the draft framework of standards would be further enriched with technical specifications, guidelines, and case studies for harmonized and effective implementation of the standards, said WCO.

Photo: Jack Moreh

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