International Cooperation

The European Union (EU)

The WCO and the European Union enjoy a close relationship. The European Commission attends several of the WCO technical committees – particularly those within the competency of the Procedures and Facilitation Sub Directorate – namely the Permanent Technical Committee, the Information Management Sub-Committee, the WCO/IATA/ICAO API Contact Committee, the Administrative Committee for the Istanbul/ATA Convention and the Administrative Committee on the Customs Convention on Containers of 1972.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was founded in 1960 on the premise of free trade as a means of achieving growth and prosperity amongst its Member States as well as promoting closer economic co-operation between the Western European countries. Furthermore, the EFTA countries wished to contribute to the expansion of trade in the world at large. The EFTA members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

International Standards Organization (ISO)

The Secretariat contributed to the work of the Maintenance Agency of the ISO standard 7372, which is the ISO equivalent to the United Nations Trade Element Directory (UNTDED). The ISO Council approved the Standard 7372 and the United Nations published it as UNTDED 2005 and ISO 7372:2005. The WCO is a member of ISO.s TC 8 Working Group, which is currently working on a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 28001) the forerunner of a full Standard on supply chain security.
PAS 28001 is intended to help an organization establish a minimum level of security in the supply chain and to meet applicable WCO requirements for Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Status. The WCO is seeking to ensure, that PAS 28001 fully complies with SAFE.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The WCO has been working closely with IATA on several fronts, including: Advanced Passenger Information (API); Advanced Cargo Information (ACI); and IATA E-freight project. The WCO was invited to be involved in the IATA E-freight project which aims at creating a paperless environment with the goal to remove all papers for all stakeholders from air cargo transportation by 2010.

Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade (GFP)

The objectives of the GFP is to pull together all interested parties, public and private, national and international, who want to help achieve significant improvements in transport and trade facilitation in the world). The WCO is a core member of the GFP together with the World Bank, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UN/ECE, TIACA, IRU and BULPRO.

The International Road Union (IRU)

The IRU, through its national associations, represents the entire road transport industry world-wide. It speaks for the operators of coaches, taxis and trucks, from large transport fleets to driver-owners. In all international bodies that make decisions affecting road transport, the IRU acts as the industry's advocate. By working for the highest professional standards, the IRU improves the safety record and environmental performance of road transport and ensures the mobility of people and goods.

Among its practical services to the industry, the IRU is international guarantor of the TIR Carnet System under which trucks are sealed by customs upon departure and can cross several borders without further checks until they reach their destinations.

The Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal (B.I.C.)

BIC with 1200 members, is the only non-governmental organization linking all groups interested in containerization and intermodal transport: carriers, manufacturers, operators, lessors, shippers, forwarders, etc…
Its goals are:

  • to contribute to the expansion of containerization and intermodal transport;
  • to facilitate professional discussions on all subjects connected with containers and intermodal transport;
  • and to obtain and keep updated specialised documentation for the benefit of its members.


GS1 is an international not-for-profit association with Member Organizations in over 100 countries. GS1 is dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors. The GS1 system of standards is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 standards bring together companies representing all parts of the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors, retailers, hospitals, transporters, customs organizations, software developers, local and international regulatory authorities, and more. GS1 standards are used by huge multinational chains and by small corner shops; by world-famous brands and by individual craftsmen. An MoU between WCO and GS1 was signed in 2007.


Global Express Association (GEA)

The Global Express Association represents the international express delivery companies that serve over 215 countries, carrying over 30 million packages each day, all of them guaranteed to be delivered within specified time frames. This guarantee makes express delivery unique in the transportation industry and enable its customers to operate over broad territories with a high degree of confidence.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA)

TIACA is the only worldwide organization which brings together all the links of the air logistics chain. Its mission is to advance the interests of the air cargo industry and strengthen its contribution to world trade expansion. TIACA is pledged to support and assist progressive liberalization of the global market and easier, enhanced trade between developing and developed economies.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) activities cover a broad spectrum, from arbitration and dispute resolution to making the case for open trade and the market economy system, business self-regulation, fighting corruption or combating commercial crime.

ICC has direct access to national governments all over the world through its national committees. The organization's Paris-based international secretariat feeds business views into intergovernmental organizations on issues that directly affect business operations.

International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)

IAPH is often referred to as the "United Ports of the World", in which active players in the global port community, namely Port CEOs, Port Directors and Port Managers are represented to promote and advance their common cause and interests.

To accomplish its goals, IAPH strives to achieve the following mission; to promote the development of the international port and maritime industry by fostering cooperation among members in order to build a more cohesive partnership among the world's ports and harbors, thereby promoting peace in the world and the welfare of mankind.

In order toensure that the industry's interests and views are represented before international organizations involved in the regulation of international trade and transportation and that they are incorporated in the regulatory initiatives of these organizations; and to collect, analyze, exchange and distribute information on developing trends in international trade, transportation, ports and the regulations of these industries.