Customs: EU proposes World Customs Organization modernisation in support of a strengthened multilateral order

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The EU is presenting for the first time its initiative for broad reform of the World Customs Organization (WCO), the global forum that shapes international standards and common action in the field of customs. The modernisation initiative would help strengthen the WCO’s position as a key multilateral institution and help it address developments in today’s ever-changing international trade environment more effectively, while supporting the green and digital transitions. The EU initiative will be presented to all WCO Members at the WCO Council session which starts today.

The WCO has more than 180 members, including the EU and its Member States. As the only global organisation dealing with customs matters, the WCO deals with a significant number of topics in the field, as well as those related to international trade, security and transport. However, since its establishment almost 65 years ago, the WCO has never undergone a comprehensive reform despite the deep shifts in international trade and new challenges faced by national customs administrations the world over. In particular, the EU sees the need for clearer prioritisation of the WCO’s work in line with the challenges for the next decades, improvements in its governance and decision-making process, and in its efficiency.

The modernisation initiative put forward by the EU this week takes the form of a series of recommendations that stress the Organization’s core activities, but at the same time provide a clear direction of travel for its future work that can improve its international standing, and make it a more effective actor for the promotion of safe, secure and legitimate trade. In brief, the EU’s submission includes a three-step approach towards strategic reform:

  • First, the WCO should have a greater focus on strategic priorities reflecting the most important challenges of the 21st In particular, the WCO should focus on the digitalisation of customs and the use of data, including in dealing with the rise in e-commerce and exchange of information; the contribution of customs to the protection of the environment and the green agenda; the development of single window approaches and coordinated border management to simplify customs clearance for businesses; and the strengthening of risk management by customs authorities.
  • Second, governance methods at the WCO should be further addressed so that the Organization can play its full role in a dynamic international environment. Transparency, institutional and decision-making processes must be improved, while making the best use of the resources at the Organization’s disposal.
  • Third, the means by which the WCO is funded should be examined to ensure long-term sustainability of the Organization to improve its standing in the global multilateral architecture, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of the economic recovery.

Background

Since its establishment in 1952, the WCO has never been subject to a comprehensive reform and, though a number of proposals for modernisation have been addressed in the past, the EU has taken the position that a more comprehensive and coherent approach should be carried out.

Today’s submission aligns with the objectives set out in the Commission’s recent Communication on Trade Policy Review – notably to have a rules based trading framework in place to enhance resilience and sustainability of supply chains, and to support the digital and green transitions. Such an initiative would also be consistent with the Commission’s and the EEAS’ strategy to reinvigorate and strengthen the multilateral order and for the EU to play a leading role in multilateral organisations by speaking with one voice.

Next steps

Following the conclusion of the WCO Council this week, it is expected that the WCO will deepen discussions on the EU’s modernisation initiative in its subsequent meetings and include it as a strategic programme for its new policy cycle.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

COVID-19 : Have we learnt any lessons at all from last year?

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

A fairer world requires fairer tech. Here’s why

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

Same-sex marriages and partnerships should be recognised across the EU

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

To take or not to take – The Indian vaccination dilemma

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Cross-roads

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: