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WCO attends EU High Level Seminar on e-Commerce

17 October 2016

At the invitation of Mr. Marian Banas, Undersecretary of State, Head of the Poland Customs Service, WCO Deputy Secretary General attended the Customs 2020 High Level Seminar “e-Commerce: Opportunity or Challenge for EU Customs”, held in Krakow, Poland, on 10 and 11 October 2016.

The high-level seminar was attended by over 90 Directors General and Senior Managers from Customs administrations of the European Union, as well as by key stakeholders from the private sector and the academia. The objective of the seminar was to provide an EU-wide Customs policy forum to enable discussions on a common, coordinated and practical Customs approach to the various challenges and threats posed by the e-commerce increasing scale, before the Union Customs Code (UCC) legal changes take effect.

In his keynote address, WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica thanked the Polish Government for their warm hospitality, and presented the WCO strategy to address the challenges and opportunities that e-commerce brings to the international Customs community, including the key initiatives the WCO is taking to support its Members in this field. Mr. Mujica also presented the outcomes of the first meeting of the WCO Working Group on e-Commerce, which has been recently established to address key Customs-related issues such as trade facilitation, security and revenue collection.

The EU approach to e-commerce was presented by Mr. Philip Kermode, Director at the Directorate-General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), European Commission, and by Mr. Tomas Prochocky, Director General for Customs Offices under the Slovak Presidency at the Council of the European Union. It was highlighted that the full implementation of the UCC, supported by the appropriate IT infrastructure will create the adequate legal and operational mechanisms to be able to deal with this e-commerce growth. However, as immediate actions were required before the entering into force of the new legal framework, this high-level seminar was necessary to create a platform to focus on urgent issues such as revenue collection, and security and safety.