The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 54 independent member states. The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.
The WCO Secretariat has a long working relationship with the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Secretariat for the implementation of CITES, based on the MOU signed by both Organizations in 1996.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization. Founded in 1919, the IFRC comprises 187 member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, a secretariat in Geneva and more than 60 delegations strategically located to support activities around the world. The MOU between the WCO and international federation of Red Cross societies was signed on 25 June 2012.
The WCO Secretariat and INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) have been working together very closely on a wide range of issues, in particular in combating of cross-border criminal activities, such as drugs, IPR, cultural heritage, cigarettes, small arms and light weapons (SALW) and environmental crime. The two Secretariats signed a MOU in 1998.
FIATA today is the leading non-governmental organization in the field of transportation and logistics, representing in excess of 40000 companies employing up to 10 million people in more than 150 countries. Its institutional Membership consists of 112 Association Members with voting rights and over 5600 Individual members. FIATA is therefore best placed to represent the unique position of the forwarder in the global supply chain. Its members’ expertise touches on all aspects of international transport and logistics and is fostered through an autonomous training programme that is deployed in almost 100 countries.
FIATA actively pursues its mandate to define, craft and promote the role of the forwarder in international air cargo with strong efforts to improve the professional standards of forwarders in air cargo, in regards to facilitation, safety and security. All these objectives are enshrined in the FIATA statutes that are publicly available on the FIATA website (www.fiata.com) together with a wealth of additional information on freight forwarding and logistics.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The WCO Secretariat maintains close cooperation with the FATF and FATF-Style Regional Bodies, such as Asia and Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) and Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in Africa (GIABA), to devise and promote international best practices in countering money laundering for Customs.
The objective of the GFP is to pull together all interested parties, public and private, national and international, which want to help achieve significant improvements in transport and trade facilitation in the world). The WCO is a core partner of the GFP together with the World Bank, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, UNIDO, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the International Road Transport Union and the International Air Cargo Association and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development, established in 1993, is an international organisation that works in migration-related fields.
ICC activities cover a broad spectrum, from arbitration and dispute resolution to making the case for open trade and the market economy system, business self-regulation, fighting corruption or combating commercial crime. ICC has direct access to national governments all over the world through its national committees. The organization's Paris-based, the international secretariat feeds business views into intergovernmental organizations on issues that directly affect business operations. A MOU between the WCO and ICC was signed on 19 June 1996.
In order to combat the illicit traffic in cultural property, the WCO and ICOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows both the organizations to jointly draft and implement, each in its own field of competence, measures to improve cooperation and information exchange. It is envisioned that Customs authorities and ICOM member authorities engage in these activities with a view to making the fraud analyses and profiles prepared for Customs services more effective. The MOU between the WCO and ICOM was signed on 1 January 2000.
The WCO established a working relationship with the ITC, whose main objective is to promote national developments through international trade emphasizing the relationship between exports and the private sector. The ITC organized symposiums which gather participants from legal, academic and business backgrounds. By participating in these symposiums, the WCO promoted the Revised Kyoto Convention and other WCO instruments to the participants. The ITC has produced information which is available on its website through which the status of countries accession to key international trade-related treaties is visually grasped. The ITC has agreed to cover data relating to the Revised Kyoto Convention and other key WCO instruments in its website.
The OECD is an international founded in the year 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries committed to democracy and market economy, which provides for a platform to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and co-ordinate domestic and international policies of its members. The WCO has cooperated with the OECD on several projects.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organization, located in The Hague, Netherlands. The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits of the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. The verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by members states and on-site inspections.
As a result of cooperation between the WCO and OSCE, the OSCE Council, held in Vienna, Austria in July 2005, has drawn up a Decision in support of Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Program). The OSCE Council agreed to encourage their members, which are also Members of the WCO, to sign the Letter of Intent to implement SAFE standards. The OSCE have also offered to assist on capacity building initiatives related to the same program.
The WTO and WCO cooperate on a number of areas, including the Harmonized System, Customs valuation, rules of origin and trade facilitation. The HS nomenclature is used by WTO Members for the purpose of scheduling their concessions on goods. In addition, the HS has been used in some agreements (for example the Agreement on Agriculture and the Information Technology Agreement) to delineate product coverage. The WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation works to ensure uniformity in the interpretation and application of the WTO Valuation Agreement at the technical level.
In the field of non-preferential rules of Origin, the WTO Committee on Rules of Origin (CRO) and the WCO Technical Committee on Rules of Origin (TCRO) are the two bodies responsible for the development of the WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin. In 1999, the TCRO concluded the technical review of the Harmonized Rules of Origin and these final results were forwarded to the CRO in Geneva for consideration. The results are still under consideration by the WTO.
With respect to trade facilitation, since 2005, WCO officials have been participating in WTO regional technical assistance activities. In addition, the WCO is assisting the development of the needs assessment tool which is being designed and developed specifically for the trade facilitation negotiations resulting from the Doha Development Agenda. WCO officials regularly attend meetings of the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation as observers.
Regional Intergovernmental Organizations
The African Union an organization of African States established in 2002 as successor to the OAU (Organisation of African Unity), which aims to encourage economic development and political stability through increased cooperation between its members. A MOU between the WCO and AU was signed on 25 June 2010.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was set up in 1993 and is an EU agency providing information at the European level concerning drugs, drug addiction and the consequences. A MOU between the WCO and EMCDDA was signed on 12 January 2007, with the aim of enhancing international drug control efforts.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was founded in 1960 on the premise of free trade as a means of achieving growth and prosperity amongst its Member States, as well as promoting closer economic co-operation between the Western European countries. In addition, the EFTA countries wished to contribute to the expansion of trade in the world at large. The EFTA members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The WCO Secretariat cooperates with the relevant bodies of the EU Commission, such as the Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD) and the OLAF agency, in order to increase efforts for combating all kind of fraud which customs encounters.
Since the signature of a Co-operation Agreement in 2002, the WCO and Europol have established and maintained close co-operation in combating serious international organized crime, such as cooperation among the WCO, OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) and Europol in counteracting the illicit manufacture of cigarettes. A MOU between the WCO and Europol was signed in 2002. 48
Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsec or EAEC)
The Eurasian Economic Community originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Customs Union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community was signed in the year 2000 and a Common Economic Space was launched on 1 January 2010. A MOU between the WCO and the EAEC was signed in 2006.
WCO secretariat maintains close cooperation with the SECI Center since the meetings for establishment of the Center to combat trans-border crime. WCO supported this regional initiative to promote combating customs frauds and improving cooperation among the participating countries. A MOU between the WCO and SECI was signed on 25 March 2005.
Working relations between WCO and IAEA in devising tactics and strategies to combat illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials, as well as facilitation of the exchange of information, resulted in the establishment of Memorandum of understanding in May 1998. It provides a framework for promoting co-operation at a national level between national customs administrations and regulatory bodies responsible for the control of nuclear and radioactive material. A MOU between the WCO and IAEA was signed on 13 May 1998.
The WCO, in co-operation with the ICAO and IATA, has been working on the revision of the WCO/IATA/ICAO Guidelines on Advance Passenger Information (API). The WCO also co-operates with ICAO in the areas of simplifying Customs procedures vis-à-vis air passengers and cargo. The WCO also actively contributes to ICAO’s work on maintaining and revising Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation-Facilitation. This annex covers many Customs procedures. A MOU between the WCO and ICAO was signed on 24 June 2011.
The WCO actively participates in the IMO Facilitation Committee (FAL) FAL agreed that it would work on the Single Window in collaboration with the WCO and other relevant international organizations. The two organizations are examining possible amendments to IMO instruments to take into account the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (known as SAFE). A MOU between the WCO and IMO was signed on 23 July 2002.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in Vienna, Austria, monitors the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions. Under the auspices of INCB, two projects namely ‘Project Cohesion’ and ‘Project PRISM’ have been launched. They are aimed at assisting governments in the fight against the illicit trafficking/diversion of precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs. The WCO is a continuing member of the project’s Task Forces. A MOU between the WCO and INCB was signed on 12 April 2012.
The WCO has been working with UNCTAD in the area of trade facilitation. UNCTAD launched an assistance program to support developing and least developing Countries’ capacity building in order that they may be able to participate more actively in the WTO trade facilitation negotiations with special emphasis on the importance of developmental aspects and involvement of the private sector. The WCO instruments related to the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations and their consistency with the three GATT Articles on which the WTO members are negotiating have been promoted through this forum.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council is charged with assessing country compliance with binding Security Council Resolution 1373. This Resolution requires all U.N. Members to take steps to enhance border security. The WCO has participated on multi-disciplinary teams on various country visits since 2005.
The WCO works closely with the UNECE by contributing to the work of a number of United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Program Development Areas (PDAs) where the Customs Domain is found in the Trade Facilitation and Transport PDA and in the Regulatory PDA. In particular the work of the International Trade Procedures Domain (ITPD) and UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) were of interest as regards e-business standardization and UN/CEFACT's activities in the area of trade facilitation. The principal working partner in this regard is the Customs Domain Group but also other PDA’s and Domains; on Supply Chain , TransportDomain , Business Process Analysis Domain and International Trade Facilitation Domain are also becoming important partners .The WCO also contributed to the UNECE Inland Transport Committees Working Group on Customs questions affecting transport (known as WP30). The WCO also organizes meetings of the Administrative Committee for the Customs Convention on Containers, 1972. The WCO is liaising closely with the UN/ECE on whose behalf the WCO administers this Convention. The UNECE is administering the TIR Convention (Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets) and it has been increasingly important to work in a collaborative manner between the administrative bodies of the two Conventions.
With a view to combating illicit traffic in cultural property, the WCO and UNESCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to determine and implement each within its own field of competence, ways and means of enhancing co-operation. The MoU foresees exchange of information between customs authorities and the competent authorities recognized by UNESCO for the protection of cultural heritage and enhancement of the effectiveness of fraud investigations and fraud profiles drawn up by inspection services. A MOU between the WCO and UNESCO was signed on 26 October 2000.
The WCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed a MOU in 2003. Since 2001, the WCO has been a very active Partner to the Green Customs Initiatives (GCI), which is a series of collaborative activities by partner organizations, coordinated by the UNEP and aimed at raising the awareness of Customs officers to trade-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The two organizations work closely to combat the illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILO) also support initiatives of UNEP’s regional offices. A MOU between the WCO and UNEP was signed on 2 June 2003.
The UN Statistics Division is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system. We compile and disseminate global statistical information, develop standards and norms for statistical activities, and support countries’ efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems.
The partnership between the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in November 1996. UNODC and WCO have successfully been working together on a number of international activities. The most recent common project is the so-called ‘UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme. A MOU was signed on 18 March 2010.
OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA promotes and negotiates with disaster-prone countries a customs model agreement that was developed in collaboration with the WCO a few years ago. A MOU between OCHA and the WCO on 27 September 2010.
The WCO continues to co-operate with the UPU through the WCO/UPU Contact Committee. The items of mutual interest include: global security issues; electronic information exchange; implementation and capacity building for the use of CN22 and CN23 forms; and consignment service in the post. A MOU between the WCO and UPU was signed on 5 July 2007.
The World Intellectual Property Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland, whose aim is to develop a balanced and accessible international intellectual property system. The WCO and WIPO closely co-operate in promoting the effective use and protection of IP worldwide.
The WCO and the World Health Organization work together on issues such as counterfeiting pharmaceuticals. The WCO is an active member of the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) project coordinated by the WHO. A MOU between the WCO and WHO was signed in July 2002.
The African Development Bank and the World Customs Organization work together, to enhance the capacity of Customs administrations in Africa. The partnership includes collaboration in identifying, developing and implementing Customs capacity building projects by observing internationally agreed best practices and supporting Customs cooperation and regional integration in Africa. A comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two Organization on 30 January 2012.
The Canadian Development Agency supports sustainable development activities among several areas of the globe in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation is a specialised directorate within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. NORAD assures the quality of Norwegian development assistance by means of technical advisory service, grant administration, communication and evaluation.
The overall target of Sweden’s Development Assistance is to ensure that those in poverty have the ability to improve their living conditions. SIDA’s action encompasses all areas of society, in order to carry out its assignments effectively.
The IDB is the main source of multilateral financing and expertise for sustainable economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB Group is composed of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). The IIC focuses on support for small and medium-sized businesses, while the MIF promotes private sector growth through grants and investments, with an emphasis on microenterprise.
The WCO Secretariat successfully maintained and enhanced co-operation with the World Bank. The WCO made available useful WCO instruments to the WB for their promotion and increased use. The software of the WCO “Time Release Study” developed in co-operation with the World Bank has been made available to WCO Members and WB members free of charge. The Secretariat participates in the World Bank Customs modernization and reform projects and workshops on trade facilitation. The World Bank also launched a project to assist countries to enhance participation in the WTO trade facilitation negotiations. The purpose of the project is to present a wide range of options for establishing co-ordination mechanisms in a country, introduce effective communication and to support its trade facilitation negotiator in Geneva.
BIC- The Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal
BIC with 1200 members is the only non-governmental organization linking all groups interested in containerization and intermodal transport, such as carriers, manufacturers, operators, lessors, shippers and forwarders. Its main goals are to contribute to the expansion of containerization and intermodal transport, to facilitate professional discussions on all subjects connected with containers and intermodal transport and to obtain and keep updated specialised documentation for the benefit of its members. A MOU between the WCO and BIC was signed on 24 June 2006.
The Global Express Association represents the international express delivery companies that serve over 215 countries, carrying over 30 million packages each day, all of them guaranteed to be delivered within specified time frames. This guarantee makes express delivery unique in the transportation industry and enables its customers to operate over broad territories with a high degree of confidence. A MOU between the WCO and GEA was signed on 25 June 2010.
The WCO has been working closely with IATA on several fronts, including on Advanced Passenger Information (API), Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) and IATA E-freight project. The WCO was invited to be involved in the IATA E-freight project which aims at creating a paperless environment with the goal to remove all papers for all stakeholders from air cargo transportation by 2010. Two MOU between the WCO and IATA were signed respectively on 20 June 1988 and on 23 June 1986.
TIACA is the only worldwide organization which brings together all the links of the air logistics chain. Its mission is to advance the interests of the air cargo industry and strengthen its contribution to world trade expansion. TIACA supports and assists and advocate for the progressive liberalization of the global market and easier, enhanced trade between developing and developed economies. A MOU between the WCO and TIACA was signed on 25 June 2010.
IAPH is often referred to as the "United Ports of the World", in which active players in the global port community, namely Port CEOs, Port Directors and Port Managers are represented to promote and advance their common cause and interests. IAPH strives to achieve the promotion of development of the international port and maritime industry by fostering cooperation among members in order to build a more cohesive partnership among the world's ports and harbors and thereby promoting peace in the world and the welfare of mankind. A MOU between the WCO and IAPH was signed in 1987.
The IRU, through its national associations, represents the entire road transport industry world-wide. It speaks for the operators of coaches, taxis and trucks, from large transport fleets to driver-owners. In all international bodies that make decisions affecting road transport, the IRU acts as the industry's advocate. The IRU improves the safety record and environmental performance of road transport and ensures the mobility of people and goods. Among its practical services to the industry, IRU is also an international guarantor of the TIR Carnet System under which trucks are sealed by customs upon departure and can cross several borders without further checks until they reach their destinations. A MOU between the WCO and RU was signed on 21 September 1987.
The Secretariat contributed to the work of the Maintenance Agency of the ISO standard 7372, which is the ISO equivalent to the United Nations Trade Element Directory (UNTDED). The ISO Council approved the Standard 7372 and the United Nations published it as UNTDED 2005 and ISO 7372:2005. The WCO is a member of ISO.s TC 8 Working Group, which is currently working on a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 28001) the forerunner of a full Standard on supply chain security. PAS 28001 is intended to help an organization establish a minimum level of security in the supply chain and to meet applicable WCO requirements for Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Status. The WCO is seeking to ensure, that PAS 28001 fully complies with SAFE.
Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, University of Canberra, Australia
The University of Canberra hosts the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies and works with the WCO East & Southern Africa Regional Office for Capacity Building based in Kenya. The MOU between the WCO and the University of Canberra was signed on 3 January 2001.
INCU is a not-for-profit international association established to provide the World Customs Organization and other organizations with a single point of contact with universities and research institutes that are active in the field of customs research, education and training. The INCU is also designed to provide a global resource for governments and the private sector, and an educational source for students wishing to further their knowledge in the field of customs management and administration, and international trade and logistics management. The MOU between the WCO and INCU was signed on 30 September, 2009.
Leeds metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Based in the city of Leeds, the University is one of the most popular in the country. With over 29,000 students and 3,000 staff, its contribution to the region and beyond is significant. The MOU between the WCO and the University of Leeds was signed on 24 January 2007.
Riga Technical University, Latvia
Riga Technical University is the first technical university in the Baltic countries as its history dates back to 1862 when Riga Polytechnic was founded. The Technical University offers a Bachelor and a Master professional programme in Customs and Taxes. The MOU between the WCO and the Riga Technical University was signed on 25 September 2005.
University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
The University of Costa Rica is one of the leading research universities within the country as well as Central America. The University offers A Baccalaureate, a Master and a Licentiate in Customs Administration and Trade.The MOU [es] between the WCO and the University of Costa Rica was signed in 2008.
University of Le Havre, France
University of Munster, Germany
The University of Munster is a public university located in the city of Munster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a society of Germany's leading research universities. The University of Munster offers a Master in Customs Administration, Law and Policy. The MOUbetween the WCO and the University of Muenster was signed in November 2005.
University of Verona, Department of English, Germanic and Slavic Studies, Italy
The University of Verona (Università degli Studi di Verona) is a university located in Verona, Italy. It was recently founded as it started its activities in the year 1982. The MOU between the WCO and the University of Verona was signed on 29 April 2009.
University “St Ceryl and Methodius”, Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The Saints Cyril and Methodius University, based in Skopje, is the largest university in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The MOU between the WCO and the “St Cyril and Methodius” University was signed on 10 May 2007.
Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Zayed University was established in 1998 and is the newest of the three government sponsored higher educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates.