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  August 31st, 2018 | Written by

WCO publishes of global standards on ecommerce

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  • Principles for crossborder ecommerce aim at developing standards for customs clearance and data harmonization.
  • The Framework of Standards on Crossborder Ecommerce was adopted at the end of June 2018 by the WCO Council.
  • WCO ecommerce framework build on principles laid down in the 2017 Luxor Resolution.

The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in ecommerce logistics, has welcomed the recent publication by the World Customs Organization (WCO) of guiding principles for crossborder ecommerce aimed at developing common standards and tools for customs clearance and data harmonization, while facilitating legitimate ecommerce flows.

The Framework of Standards on Crossborder Ecommerce was adopted at the end of June 2018 by the WCO Council, the organization’s highest decision-making body, together with a resolution aimed at ensuring its harmonized and effective implementation.

Building upon the key principles laid down in the Luxor Resolution adopted in December 2017, the Framework of Standards sets out baseline global standards on crossborder ecommerce and U-Freight believes it will help shape this rapidly evolving sector of global trade.

UFL CEO Simon Wong said the “exponential growth” of ecommerce and the increased role of consumers in individual transactions pose several challenges to governments and businesses like, whether in terms of trade facilitation, safety/security or the collection of duties and taxes.

“At U-Freight, in our development of ecommerce logistics solutions, we are continually trying to address the key issues stemming from increasing volumes of business-to-business and business-to-consumer ecommerce shipments and the time sensitivity thereof,” he said.

Examples of those efforts include investment in the company’s warehouse facilities. UFL has been qualified by China Customs and CIQ (China Inspection and Quarantine) as a licensed Crossborder Ecommerce Enterprise and as a Cross-Border Ecommerce Logistics Service Provider.

WCO said the new Framework of Standards “contains 15 standards that are concise, progressive and focused on the ecommerce environment, with a view to providing pragmatic, fair, and innovative solutions whilst taking into account the diverse expectations and concerns of Customs administrations and stakeholders”.

These standards pertain to the legal framework for advance electronic data; use of international standards for advance electronic data; risk management for facilitation and control; use of non-intrusive inspection technologies and data analytics; simplified clearance procedures; expanding the concept of Authorized Economic Operator to crossborder ecommerce; and models of revenue collection.

They also cover de minimis; prevention of fraud and illicit trade; inter-agency cooperation and information sharing; public-private partnerships; international cooperation; communication, public awareness and outreach; mechanism of measurement; and exploring technological developments and innovation.

The essence of the framework is the exchange of advance electronic data for effective risk management and enhanced facilitation of growing volumes of crossborder small and low-value business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer shipments, and the adoption of simplified procedures with respect to clearance, revenue collection and return, among other things, in close partnership with ecommerce stakeholders.

It also encourages the use of non-intrusive inspection equipment, data analytics and other cutting-edge technologies to support safe, secure, and sustainable crossborder ecommerce.

The framework is intended for customs administrations wishing to develop legislative and operational frameworks for crossborder ecommerce. It will also be useful for those seeking to enhance their existing frameworks in order to effectively meet the requirements of new and evolving business models, said WCO.

Administrations are expected to implement these standards in close cooperation with other relevant government agencies and ecommerce stakeholders, in accordance with their national priorities, capacity, human and financial resources, and internal procedures. Going forward, the framework will be further enriched with technical specifications and guidelines for its timely, effective, and harmonious implementation.