WCO-UPU Contact Committee Meeting held on the online KUDO platform

11 diciembre 2020

The 40th Meeting of the WCO-UPU Contact Committee was held jointly by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on 3 and 4 December 2020. The virtual meeting sessions, which took place online via the KUDO platform following a document-based consultation process, were attended by some 50 experts from Customs administrations and designated postal operators.

In their opening remarks, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, and Mr. Abdel Ilah Bousseta, the UPU’s Director of Postal Operations, welcomed Members and Observers to the Meeting of the WCO-UPU Contact Committee. They stressed the importance of cooperation between the WCO and the UPU in exploring possible measures so that they might overcome the challenges that lie ahead together. The directors praised the Contact Committee for its dedicated work over the past four years in agreeing on priorities, addressing common challenges and identifying potential solutions to improve Customs-Post collaboration. In particular, this involved the organization of capacity-building workshops, the implementation of electronic advance data (EAD) exchanges, the strengthening of security and safety measures, the handling of E-Commerce and trade facilitation, and the processing of regulatory matters.

The Contact Committee endorsed the organization of the 10th joint WCO-UPU regional workshop in 2021, specifically designed for the benefit of the East and Southern Africa sub-region. The workshop will provide an opportunity for Customs and postal officials from different countries to engage with each other and foster closer cooperation at the national and regional levels. Facilitated by experts from the WCO and UPU, these workshops will help participants to enhance their understanding of WCO and UPU instruments and tools. The Committee also took note of the UPU Common Fund EAD Project, which aims to accelerate the capture and transmission of EAD events, to achieve compliance with all Customs laws and regulations, and to develop mobile technologies. Furthermore, a number of joint WCO-UPU actions that had been taken in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak and highlighted in a joint letter sent to members were presented at the Committee.

With regard to EAD matters, the UPU International Bureau (IB) provided an updated analysis of PREDES and ITMATT exchanges between postal operators. Georgia Customs presented its experience of implementing the national postal Customs EAD exchange in the form of an interface between UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA used by Customs and the UPU Customs Declaration System (CDS) used by Georgian Post. The WCO Secretariat also provided an update to Posts from the WCO’s Technical Expert Group on Air Cargo Security. The UPU presented its position paper about EAD flows 3, 4 and 4+ of the UPU Global Postal Model, and the Committee endorsed the proposal made with regard to piloting, and requested that the joint WCO-UPU expert team discuss this matter further. The progress that had been made on the joint WCO-UPU Electronic Data Interchange messaging standard – CUSITM and CUSRSP version 2 – was reported to the Committee. The United States Postal Service (USPS) provided an update on the UPU EAD roadmap, and the UPU IB presented the results of piloting its artificial intelligence-based dangerous goods search tool.

As for security and safety matters, the UPU and WCO Secretariats briefed the Committee on the S58/S59 UPU Security Standard and its cross-reference with the SAFE Framework of Standards (FoS). An update was provided on UPU security-related matters covering capacity-building activities and steps taken by postal operators towards S58/S59 certification. The intersessional progress of WCO authorized economic operator (AEO) status for Posts was also presented. It was followed by a presentation by Romania Post about its experience achieving AEO status, including the process, benefits and next steps. The UPU provided an update on its prohibited and restricted articles repository and search tool, and the Committee endorsed the recommendation to establish a joint expert team to improve the categorization of its entries. Lastly, the UPU IB briefed members on the planned section about the UPU CDS in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) synthetic opioid profiling guidelines.

In the interest of better management of E-Commerce and trade facilitation, the WCO’s view on the Single Window and recent facts and figures regarding the various stages of Single Window implementation, and the impact of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) from the postal perspective were reported to the Committee. These aim at easier, faster and more efficient and transparent trade facilitation with standardized information and procedures. The UPU IB also provided an update on the Rail-UPU Contact Committee, including the simplified transit process, data exchange pilots, the ICS2 timeline and UPU Regulations. The Committee took note of the discussions in the joint expert team on the potential integration of the CN 22 and CN 23 forms and the harmonization of datasets, endorsing the continuation of the work of the joint expert team in 2021 to finalize this integration.

Finally, the Committee endorsed its WCO-UPU Contact Committee Work Plan for 2017-2020 and its transition to the next review cycle in 2021-2024. Of 19 work items, 16 had been achieved as expected (nine of them in areas to be considered during the next cycle). Three pending work items were either to be accomplished in 2021 or to be considered for the forthcoming 2021-2024 review cycle.