WCO working group finalizes work on e-commerce standards

WCO working group finalizes work on e-commerce standards

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The Working Group on E-Commerce (WGEC) met recently to wrap up remaining work items leading to the harmonized implementation of the e-commerce framework of standards, said the World Customs Organization (WCO).

As a backgrounder, in June 2018, the Council endorsed the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-border E-Commerce (E-Commerce FoS). In June 2019, it endorsed the WCO E-Commerce Package, except for the three outstanding Annexes to the E-Commerce FoS Technical Specifications.

The recent WGEC meeting focused on completing the three annexes, namely, the reference datasets for e-commerce, revenue collection approaches, and roles and responsibilities of e-commerce stakeholders.

WCO explained that the E-Commerce Framework of Standards provides 15 baseline global standards focusing on the exchange of advance electronic data to effectively manage risks and enhance facilitation of cross-border small and low-value business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) shipments.

It also encourages the use of the Authorized Economic Operator concept, non-intrusive inspection equipment, data analytics, and other cutting-edge technologies to support safe, secure and sustainable cross-border e-commerce.

On the other hand, the E-Commerce Package contains technical specifications to the E-Commerce FoS, definitions, e-commerce business models, e-commerce flowcharts, implementation strategy, action plan and capacity building mechanism, as well as two case study templates.

The package will serve to provide the necessary resource guidance to members and relevant stakeholders when implementing various standards of the framework, said WCO.

The WGEC during the meeting endorsed the revised texts of the three annexes. The revised text of the Revenue Collection Approaches document contains a reference to members’ case studies on different revenue collection approaches.

Similarly, the Reference Datasets for Cross-Border E-Commerce document contains references to distinct datasets developed and/or piloted by members to effectively track, target and identify small shipments and cross-border e-commerce parcels.

The outcomes of the WGEC meeting, as well as the draft compendium of case studies on e-commerce, will be presented to the April 2020 Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) and to the June 2020 Policy Commission and Council for endorsement.

Future work in the area of cross-border e-commerce will then be carried out by the PTC and the Enforcement Committee, WCO said.

The WGEC meeting was held at the WCO headquarters in Brussels from February 12 to 14, 2020 and brought together close to 120 delegates from member customs administrations, partner international organizations, representatives of the postal and express service industry, e-vendors, e-commerce platforms, logistics service providers, customs brokers and technology service providers. 

Photo courtesy of WCO

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