Members of the WCO East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) regions welcome a timely workshop on cross-border e-commerce

28 May 2021

From 25 to 28 May 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) delivered an Online Regional Workshop on Cross-Border E-Commerce for the East and Southern Africa (ESA), and West and Central Africa (WCA) regions.  The workshop was organised with the financial support of the Customs Cooperation Fund of China and gathered more than 100 participants from 32 Member Customs administrations and speakers from the WCO Secretariat, the East and Southern Africa Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO ESA), the Central Africa Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO CA), the Western Africa Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO WA), the Universal Postal Union, the Global Express Association, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Effective and harmonised implementation of the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce (E-Commerce FoS) is even more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the WCO Director for Compliance and Facilitation, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, in his opening remarks. As a result of COVID-19, customers have become more reliant on e-commerce, which has resulted in further increases in volumes - a trend that is expected to continue even after the pandemic, he added.

Opening remarks were also offered by the Director of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) ESA, Mr. Larry Liza and the Director of the ROCB WCA, Mr. Abdel Kader Sangho. They both recognized the key role of the WCO in e-commerce and highlighted the importance and timeliness of this awareness raising and capacity building event.

Over the four days of the regional workshop, the workshop facilitators explained the 15 standards of the E-Commerce FoS and the tools available to support their implementation. Each workshop session benefitted from presentations by Members, partner international organizations and private sector entities. Thus, the workshop sessions provided practical examples of E-Commerce FoS implementation in areas such as use of Advance Electronic Data, data exchange with postal operators, and revenue collection including valuation, Post Clearance Audit and periodical payment issues. Other interesting topics discussed were cooperation with stakeholders such as marketplaces, fulfilment centers and free zones/warehouses, expanding the concept of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) to e-commerce stakeholders, and the use of advanced technologies.

The participants from Member Customs administrations welcomed the opportunity to discuss how to efficiently implement the E-Commerce FoS, while the speakers from partner international organizations and the private sector were glad to contribute to this important forum.

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