UPU/WCO Contact Committee

Confirmed by the Council - June 2003

Updated - June 2005

Chairperson : Spokesperson of the host Organization

Established : 1965

Duration : Unspecified

1. Mandate

The WCO/UPU Contact Committee was established in 1965 by an agreement between the WCO and the UPU, following a Resolution adopted by the UPU at its 15th Congress held in Vienna. The WCO/UPU Contact Committee has the character of a Working Group whose conclusions are submitted to the competent WCO and UPU bodies for approval. Within the WCO, this body is the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) and, within the UPU, the Postal Operations Council (POC).

2. Membership

Each of the two Organizations is represented by experts from six Member administrations and by its own Secretariat. Where possible, each expert shall be accompanied by a technical adviser from the national Customs or postal administration, as appropriate. Consequently, the WCO/UPU Contact Committee shall not include representatives from the postal and Customs administration of the same country. The Customs and postal administrations of the host country shall also be invited to the Committee as observers.

The Committee is usually reconstituted every five years, following a decision by the supreme bodies in both Organizations, namely the WCO Council and the UPU Congress.

3. Purpose and Scope

The Contact Committee deals with issues of common interest and, in particular, seeks means and methods to speed up and simplify Customs formalities in the postal service. To this end the WCO/UPU Contact Committee :

  • works as contact point between the two Organizations on issues raised at the respective Organizations;
  • exchanges information on issues of common interest related to postal traffic, in particular the issues related to the clearance of postal items;
  • seeks means and methods to facilitate, simplify and harmonize Customs formalities on postal items;
  • seeks means and methods to ensure effective Customs control of postal items;
  • seeks means and methods to ensure that effective security arrangements are made for the carriage of all postal items;
  • seeks means and methods to enhance Customs control at export level.

4. Key Deliverables

A report, drafted after the meeting by the Secretariat of the host Organization, is sent to the Chairperson of the meeting for approval. The report must then be approved by the competent bodies in each of the two Organizations. Within the WCO, this body is the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) and, in the UPU, the Postal Operations Council (POC). The report shall contain details of decisions taken and/or actions to be taken within agreed time-frames. The WCO Secretariat, the UPU Secretariat and the member administrations of the WCO/UPU Contact Committee shall make every effort to ensure that the conclusions of the Contact Committee will be respected by their respective competent bodies.

5. Means of Operation

The Agenda for each meeting shall be drawn up by the Organization hosting the meeting in close consultation with the other Organization, and shall be distributed to the delegates to the Contact Committee at least 30 days in advance of the opening date of the meeting, except in case of urgency. Working documents, especially those which may require consultation at the national level, should also be available to delegates in sufficient time.

The WCO/UPU Contact Committee may set up Working Groups as it considers necessary to progress some of its functions. However, the Contact Committee shall retain overall responsibility for all matters of its competence.

The general administrative arrangements for the Contact Committee, including the date and the venue, shall be decided by the host Organization in close consultation and co-operation with the other Organization.

6. Resources Required


The WCO/UPU Contact Committee shall be organized annually and alternately in Brussels (Belgium) and in Bern (Switzerland). The meeting is of two days’ duration. Where appropriate and subject to agreement between the two Organizations, the Contact Committee may be cancelled. In that case, the Organization which proposed to host the cancelled meeting shall host the next meeting.

A separate preparatory meeting for the Customs and postal administrations is to be arranged before the opening of the official meeting. In principle, the preparatory meeting discusses the issues based on each Agenda item and seeks joint positions of the respective Organizations. Each of the two Organizations must designate a spokesperson, who presents the documents prepared by, and speaks on behalf of, his/her Organization. However, all experts and observers may take the floor during the discussions. The meeting is chaired by the spokesperson for the Organization hosting the meeting.

General administrative arrangements:

The officers of the Secretariat designated by the Secretaries General of the two Organizations shall perform the secretariat duties at the meetings of the Contact Committee.