The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.
The WCO’s governing body – the Council – relies on the competence and skills of a Secretariat and a range of technical and advisory committees to accomplish its mission. The Secretariat comprises over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities.
As a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegates, the WCO offers its Members a range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided either directly by the Secretariat, or with its participation. The Secretariat also actively supports its Members in their endeavours to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.
Besides the vital role played by the WCO in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade, its efforts to combat fraudulent activities are also recognized internationally. The partnership approach championed by the WCO is one of the keys to building bridges between Customs administrations and their partners. By promoting the emergence of an honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, the WCO directly contributes to the economic and social well-being of its Members.
Finally, in an international environment characterized by instability and the ever-present threat of terrorist activity, the WCO’s mission to enhance the protection of society and the national territory, and to secure and facilitate international trade, takes on its full meaning.
Dynamically leading modernization and connectivity in a rapidly changing world.
The WCO provides leadership, guidance and support to Customs administrations to secure and facilitate legitimate trade, realize revenues, protect society and build capacity
Strategic Goal 1 - Promote the security and facilitation of international trade, including simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures = Economic Competitiveness Package
The WCO is working with its Members to ensure growth by securing and promoting economic competitiveness. Trade security and facilitation is one of the key factors for economic development of nations and is closely tied into national agendas on social wellbeing, poverty reduction and economic development of countries and their citizens. Likewise, the WCO provides a forum for the development of instruments and tools to simplify and harmonize Customs procedures.
Strategic Goal 2 - Promote fair, efficient, and effective Revenue collection = Revenue Package
Collection of revenue remains a top priority for many Customs administrations, particularly in economies where a substantial portion of government revenue is derived from Customs duties. A modern Customs administration needs to apply the relevant tools and instruments - developed by the WCO and other international bodies - in a consistent manner in order to achieve fair, efficient, and effective revenue collection.
Strategic Goal 3 - Protect society, public health and safety = Compliance and Enforcement Package
The efficiency and effectiveness of Customs border compliance is a determining factor in ensuring goods, people and means of transport comply with laws and regulations, the attainment of safe and secure communities, the economic competitiveness of nations, the growth of international trade and the development of the global marketplace.
The WCO will continue to develop and maintain standards and guidelines with respect to the goal of protecting society. The exchange of Customs enforcement information and Intelligence is crucial to the WCO’s Enforcement Strategy. To this end, the WCO will coordinate and implement Customs law enforcement initiatives and operational activities with assistance from key stakeholders.
Strategic Goal 4 - Strengthen Capacity Building = Organizational Development Package
Effective and efficient Customs administrations are vital for the economic, social and security development of States. The WCO, as the global centre of Customs excellence, plays a central role in development, promotion and support for the implementation of modern Customs standards, procedures and systems and has positioned itself as a global leader in Capacity Building delivery.
The development of Capacity Building tools is linked to three enablers that were emphasized by the Capacity Building Committee as essential for sustainable development and modernization : Political Will, People and Partnerships.
Strategic Goal 5 - Promote information exchange between all stakeholders
The WCO provides a forum for international cooperation to promote greater connectivity and more harmonious interaction, including the exchange of information and experience and the identification of best practices, between Member administrations, other government agencies, international organizations, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders.
Strategic Goal 6 - Raise the performance and profile of Customs
The WCO and the international Customs community promote their strategic priorities, roles and contributions through cooperation, communication and partnership with governments, other international and regional organizations, donors and the private sector.
Strategic Goal 7 - Conduct Research and Analysis
The WCO conducts research and analysis on a wide range of Customs and international trade topics using various methods in order to promote a professional, knowledge-based service culture, and to benefit the WCO membership and external stakeholders.