The WCO TEG-NII makes steady progress towards a global standard for an NII data format

18 December 2018

The 4th Meeting of the Technical Experts Group on Non-Intrusive Inspection (TEG-NII) was held on 13-14 December 2018 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The meeting brought together close to 70 participants from Member Customs administrations and NII Industry members. Thorough discussions were held in two main sessions – a session on the Unified File Format (UFF) Development Programme and a session devoted to other NII-related topics.

In her opening remarks, the Director of Compliance and Facilitation, Ms. Ana Hinojosa, highlighted the linkages between the work carried out by the TEG-NII and the theme to which the global Customs community will be dedicating 2019 - “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport.” The development of a standard NII data format, aimed at facilitating interoperability of different NII equipment provided by different manufacturers, contributes to the transformation of frontiers into SMART borders. The work of the TEG-NII is also relevant to the development of the 2021 version of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards and the Group can provide valuable inputs in that regard.

During the UFF dedicated session, the TEG-NII approved the UFF Phase 2 Pre-Pilot Test Report and agreed on the way forward for testing the UFF Phase 2 development by selected Member Customs administrations. The participants discussed the UFF technical description and launched the discussions on the scope and timelines of Phase 3 of the UFF Development Programme.

The second day of the meeting provided the opportunity to examine and share experience on a number of NII-related topics, such as the elements to consider when establishing or enhancing the set-up for Customs operations involving NII, testing and deployment of small scanning equipment, image analysis and emerging technologies.

The Group agreed on an update of the WCO Guidelines for the Procurement and Deployment of Scanning/NII Equipment and approved a survey questionnaire that will be sent out to Members with the objective of compiling a compendium containing information on the NII systems deployed by the Customs administrations worldwide.