Engagement of the IPPC Secretariat in the World Customs Organization’s Work e-Commerce Standards

Posted on Mon, 24 Feb 2020, 15:32

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Meeting delegates discuss revisions to some Annexes, the Technical Specifications and the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border e-Commerce ©FAO

Brussels, 14 February 2020 - IPPC Secretariat representative, Ms Barbara Peterson, Implementation Facilitation Officer, attended a meeting of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Working Group on E-Commerce (WGEC) at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium from 12 to14 February 2020. The meeting brought together close to 120 delegates from 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.

In June 2019, the WCO’s Policy Commission and Council endorsed the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border e-Commerce, as well as an action plan for its implementation. As three proposed Annexes to the Framework were not adopted in June 2019, the Council extended the mandate of the workgroup until June 2020. The purpose of this 6th meeting of the WGEC was to finalize the three remaining Annexes to the Technical Specifications to the WCO Framework, specifically:

Reference Data Set for e-Commerce,

e-Commerce Stakeholders: Roles and Responsibilities, and

Revenue Collection Approaches.

The working group finalized these annexes, and developed a proposal to ensure review and maintenance of this Framework on a regular cycle. These documents are to be presented to the WCO Council in June 2020 for adoption and are expected to be released in the months following the adoption, along with a number of member case studies.

The attendance of the IPPC Secretariat representative at the meeting supports the implementation of activities described in the WCO-IPPC Secretariats Joint Work Plan. “Sensitizing delegates on the objectives of the IPPC and our e-Commerce Programme was of fundamental importance to raise awareness of the phytosanitary risks associated with cross-border e-Commerce”, stated Ms Peterson. While at WCO Headquarters, the IPPC representative also participated in a side meeting on Harmonized System (HS) codes, the standardized international system used to classify globally traded products. Mr Kaoru Omoto, a WCO Technical Officer Tariff and Trade Affairs, described the WCO’s cycle for revising and adopting new HS codes and the general process for their submissions.

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