Members of the WCO Europe region discuss solutions to cross-border e-commerce challenges

From 24 to 28 January 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) delivered an Online Regional Workshop on Cross-Border E-Commerce for the WCO Europe region. The event was organized in cooperation with the Europe Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB Europe) who provided interpretation and the web-conferencing platform for the workshop. Close to 100 experts from 37 Member Customs administrations, as well as from designated postal operators from the Europe region, shared their experiences, along with information and insights provided by workshop facilitators and speakers from the Universal Postal Union, the Global Express Association, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Alibaba Cainiao, Amazon and DHL.

Opening remarks were provided by Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Director of the WCO Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, who highlighted the opportunities and challenges presented by the ever-growing volumes of e-commerce parcels and the importance of effective and harmonised implementation of the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce (E-Commerce FoS). Opening remarks were also provided by Mr. Konstantinos Mourtidis, Director General of Greek Customs and WCO Council Vice-Chair for the WCO Europe Region, Mr. Ismayil Huseynov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as by Mr. Eser Çengel, Director of ROCB Europe, all highlighting the importance and timeliness of the regional capacity-building event.

During the various workshop sessions, the workshop facilitators provided detailed explanations of the 15 standards of the WCO E-Commerce FoS and the tools available to support their implementation. Each session benefitted from presentations by Members, partner international organizations and private sector entities. Members and stakeholders shared practical examples of E-Commerce FoS implementation in areas such as use of Advance Electronic Data, data exchange with postal operators, simplified procedures for low-value shipments, and revenue collection, including valuation and Post-Clearance Audit. Other interesting topics discussed were cooperation with stakeholders, such as marketplaces and fulfilment centers, expanding the concept of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) to e-commerce stakeholders, and the use of advanced technologies.

The Europe region is the sixth and the last WCO region to benefit from a regional workshop aimed at raising awareness of the E-Commerce FoS and the steps for its implementation, as well as at promoting regional cooperation.

In closing the workshop, the WCO Deputy Director of the Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, Mr. Brendan O’Hearn, thanked Members for sharing their experiences and insights as these are very useful for the future WCO work in the area of cross-border e-commerce. Closing remarks were provided also by the Customs Administration of Greece, as well as by ROCB Europe emphasizing the important role of the WCO in enhancing Members’ capacities to implement international standards in the cross-border e-commerce area.

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