UPU/WCO Contact Committee

Confirmed by the Council - June 2003

Updated - July 2017

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 and, within the UPU, the Customs Group of the Postal Operations Council.

2. Membership

The WCO is represented by experts from eight member Customs administrations and the UPU by experts from eight designated operators. Each organization is also represented by its own secretariat. Where possible, each expert shall be accompanied by a technical adviser from the national Customs administration or designated operator, as appropriate. Consequently, the WCO–UPU Contact Committee shall not include representatives from the designated operator and Customs administration of the same country. The Customs administrations and designated operators of the host countries shall also be invited to the Committee as observers. Each of the two organizations may further invite up to five observers (representatives of Customs administrations, designated operators, international organizations, or private sector organizations).

The Committee is usually reconstituted every four years, following a decision by the supreme bodies of 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 to speed up and simplify Customs formalities in the postal service. To this end, the WCO–UPU Contact Committee seeks to:

  • work as a contact point between the two organizations on issues raised by the respective organizations;
  • exchange information on issues of common interest related to postal traffic, in particular issues related to the clearance of postal items;
  • facilitate, simplify and harmonize Customs formalities and ensure effective Customs control in respect of postal items, particularly in the e-commerce environment;
  • ensure that effective security arrangements are made for the carriage of all postal items through the harmonised implementation of the WCO, UPU, ICAO, and other relevant security standards;
  • facilitate the work of Customs in promoting and ensuring movements of legitimate trade through the postal network;
  • enhance Customs control at export level by improving compliance with rules and regulations;
  • develop and promote standards and tools and their use, including the exchange of advance electronic data between designated operators and Customs authorities and safeguard data privacy; 
  • develop and regularly update the WCO–UPU Customs Matters Guide and other instruments and tools to assist in ensuring compliance and improving data quality;
  • strengthen capacity-building actions by promoting the organization of joint WCO–UPU customs workshops in different regions of the world.

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 of each of the two organi¬zations. Within the WCO, this body is the Permanent Technical Committee and, within the UPU, the Customs Group of the Postal Operations Council. The report shall contain details of decisions taken and/or actions to be taken within agreed timeframes. The WCO Secretariat, the UPU International Bureau and the members of the WCO–UPU Contact Committee shall make every effort to ensure that the conclusions of the Contact Committee are 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 consulta¬tion 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 made available to dele¬gates 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 within 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 cooperation with the other organization.

6. Resources Required


The WCO–UPU Contact Committee shall be organized annually and alternately in Brussels (Belgium) and in Berne (Switzerland). If deemed necessary, WCO–UPU Contact Committee meetings may be held more than once a year, subject to agreement by the two organizations. The meeting shall be 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 administrations and designated operators 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 shall designate a spokesperson to present the documents prepared by (and speak on behalf of) his/her organization. However, all experts and observers may take the floor during the discussions. The meeting shall be chaired by the spokesperson for the organization hosting the meeting.

General administrative arrangements:

The officers of the secretariat designated by the Secretary General of the WCO and the Director General of the UPU International Bureau shall perform the secretariat duties at the meetings of the Contact Committee.