Information Management Sub-Committee augments Digital Customs agenda

07 November 2018

The 75th Session of the Information Management Sub-Committee (IMSC) was held on 29 and 30 October 2018. Chaired by Mr. Sung Sig Kim of Korean Customs, it brought together experts from Member Administrations, partner international organization and the private sector to discuss a number of cross-cutting issues with a view to enhance ICT implementation in Customs and border processes.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Luc De Blieck, the Deputy Director of the Procedure and Facilitation, welcomed the delegates and noted that digital technologies were transforming the global trading landscape by lowering trade costs and enabling faster, secure and more reliable management of data across borders, thus improving the overall efficiency of the international supply chain.

Delegates welcomed the new version of the WCO Data Model, namely version 3.8.0, that had been finalized by the Data Model Projects Team (DMPT) at its meeting in October 2018. Following the finalization, a quality control process would be done by Members, and the new version of the WCO Data Model would be published in December 2018. In addition, the IMSC approved the new WCO Data Model Business Guide - a non-technical resource for senior and middle level management of Customs and stakeholders – aimed at enhancing the understanding of strategic and business perspective of WCO Data Model.

The progress of the development of the Single Window Interactive Map (SWIM) and the WCO Reform and Modernization – Monitoring Activities and Projects (RAM-MAP) database was presented by the Secretariat during the Meeting. The database that enabled Members to share their practices on the implementation of Single Window while at the same time learning from others on key features of their Single Window Environment has been developed with the support of the Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) Korea.

Through a panel discussion, the IMSC discussed the way forward on the WCO Digital Customs programme and brought forward a number of new and emerging topics for future work. The IMSC agreed that a seamless integration between border management agencies and supply chain stakeholders should be one of the key objectives of Digital Customs, in addition to the exploration of smart border concepts through the implementation of electronic services and the utilization of new and emerging technologies. It also recommended to collect Members’ practices with the implementation of e-services through a survey.

Following the discussions on Blockchain at its previous Sessions, the IMSC discussed future works that could be taken up by the Sub-Committee and the DMPT  that included interoperability and data standardization in order to anticipate and address new developments in the area of Blockchain by enhancing the cooperation with supply chain stakeholders.

In addition, the IMSC examined the issue of Cloud computing as a potential promising approach to support the implementation of new processes and technologies. Some of the Cloud features, such as “Pay as use”, “elasticity”, as well as “portability” could help Customs in implementing ICT solution more efficiently, while enhancing the connectivity and interoperability of Customs systems. The IMSC identified data security and data localization as two key important issues that need to be addressed through a robust contractual framework between users and solution providers in order to mitigate the risk on the use of cloud-based solutions.

Finally, given the growing cyber security threats, the IMSC discussed and information security and agreed to further develop the draft Handbook on Information Security.