WCO Guidance for Customs administrations in Small Island Economies (SIEs)

The WCO Guidance for Customs administrations in Small Island Economies (SIEs) is a tool developed in order to assist Small Island Economies address their unique challenges in the pursuit of Customs modernization and reform programmes, including accession to and implementation of key WCO instruments and tools, as well as other relevant international standards.  In a broader context, the overall aim of this Guidance is to recommend potential measures to assist SIEs with integrating into the global supply chain, while strengthening their capacities for effective risk management, trade and travel facilitation, security and revenue collection.

The Guidance for Customs administrations in SIEs comprises six chapters and three annexes.

Chapter I introduces SIEs and provides related context and background, giving an overview of issues such as geographical location, rich biodiversity, limited resources, high transport and communication costs, insufficient air and maritime connectivity, inadequate institutional capacity, and proneness to natural disasters.

Chapter II sets out the procedures for accession to the WCO and its instruments, including the benefits and associated resource requirements.

Chapter III deals with mission-critical roles of Customs administrations in SIEs and succinctly describes relevant WCO tools and how they can be applied by SIEs to address their specific issues.

Chapter IV describes possible scenarios and SIE-oriented solutions to better tackle specificities concerning legal and policy frameworks, and human resource skills and competencies.

Chapter V covers regional co-operation and regional integration, including the role of regional Customs and economic unions.

Chapter VI outlines the WCO’s capacity building programmes and how they can be effectively used by SIEs in their pursuit of enhancing and modernizing Customs and border procedures.

Each of the six chapters contains case studies and/or best practices that might directly inspire SIEs and provide them with a useful resource base. Chapters also describe national experiences in Customs administrations that have already benefited from the support of the WCO, with tangible outcomes.

The Guidance was approved by the Council at its 137th Session in December 2020.