Asia/Pacific Region held a high-level dialogue on the implementation of the Cross-Border E-Commerce Framework of Standards

19 July 2018

The WCO, with the support of the Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB A/P), the Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF Japan) and Indian Customs, organized a High-Level ‘Regional Seminar on the Cross-Border E-Commerce Framework of Standards’ for the Asia/Pacific (A/P) Region on 16 and 17 July 2018 in New Delhi, India. This was the first event organized for the launching of the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce after its adoption by the WCO Council last month.

Welcoming delegates and congratulating the WCO for the pioneering work done in the area of Cross-Border E-Commerce, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Member (Customs), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) of India, highlighted the need for a robust legal and IT infrastructure for a fair and sustainable development of e-commerce. He further suggested some measures for effective and integrated risk management along with the extensive use of technology to effectively address the challenges stemming from growing cross-border e-commerce.

In his keynote address, the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya congratulated India for assuming the office of the Vice-Chair of the WCO A/P Region. Noting the phenomenal growth of e-commerce in the A/P Region, he thanked the Members of the Region for their valuable contributions in the development of the Framework of Standards and for undertaking various initiatives by them towards its effective implementation that would be useful for other Members. “The WCO stands ready with the global standard on Cross-Border E-Commerce and a basket of associated tools to support its Members and stakeholders with capacity building activities in the area of E-Commerce,said Dr. Mikuriya .

The Director General of Japan Customs Mr. Atsushi Iizuka and Mr. Visvanath Das, Chief Executive Officer, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service also graced the occasion and shared their perspectives on the Framework, its phased implementation and the way forward.

The Seminar brought together over 50 high-ranking representatives from 26 Customs Administrations of the Region to deliberate on the newly adopted Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce that would provide a global baseline standard for developing legislative and operational frameworks for cross-border e-commerce. The participants held an in-depth discussion on each of the standards and shared their respective experiences and initiatives/pilots with the implementation of various standards contained in the Framework.

The Seminar focused on multiple facets of cross-border e-commerce that included its exponential growth, benefits, opportunities, challenges and related solutions. In particular, the experts from the WCO and Customs administrations of the Region highlighted the need for the exchange of advance electronic data between e-commerce stakeholders (e.g. e-platforms/marketplaces, postal operators and express service providers) for a dynamic risk management approach attuned to the e-commerce context, as well as the use of cutting-edge technologies such as Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, for enhanced facilitation, effective risk management (including security and product safety) and efficient revenue collection.

Some other key suggestions stemming from the Seminar included:  identity management of the actual buyer and seller, the exchange of order data, payment data and logistics data, legal arrangements for data sharing including data privacy and protection, and simplified return and refund procedures. These suggestions will be considered by the WCO when further enriching the Framework of Standards with technical specifications and additional resource guidance.

The Seminar equally underlined the importance of partnerships, public awareness, outreach and capacity building for a secure and balanced development of cross-border e-commerce, benefiting all.

Participants appreciated the intensive and extensive discussions held at the Seminar and expressed their sincere thanks to Japan for its generous financial support.

Based on the experiences shared, and insights gained at this Seminar, the WCO will augment its efforts to raise awareness regarding the Framework of Standards through a more extensive outreach, and provide technical assistance to Customs administrations of other WCO regions for an harmonized and effective implementation of the Framework.