Successful Completion of the 1st Meeting of the WCO Working Group on Data and Statistics

14 November 2022

From 9 to 11 November 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) organized the first meeting of the Working Group on Data and Statistics (WGDS) in a hybrid mode, at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting, which follows the WCO’s Council decision in June 2022, was attended by over 80 representatives of Member administrations who actively contributed to the discussions around statistics and data sharing. A similar number of participants attended the event virtually.

In his opening address, WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya reiterated the importance of data sharing and statistics for Customs, referring to WCO’s theme of this year: Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem. He noted the recent rapid development in digitalization technologies and their impact on societies and economies and emphasized the importance for Customs to adopt a strategic view in this regard. Dr. Mikuriya stressed that the active participation of Member administrations, partners, academia and other relevant stakeholders was the key to boost the Customs agenda on data and statistics.

Mr. Abdulaziz Alohali, from the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority of Saudi Arabia and Mr. B. B. Gupta from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs of India, were elected as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, respectively, for the WGDS session in 2022.

The first meeting of the WGDS discussed and provided direction on a number of issues, including the definition and standardization of statistics, data sharing at transaction level, technical assistance and Capacity Building in statistics and data, the establishment of Communities of practitioners, stakeholders engagement, and the work programme of the WGDS, among others.

Delegates approved the establishment of two sub-working groups to conduct the intersessional works on the definition and standardization of statistics and the development of a framework and guidelines of recommendations on data sharing at the transactional level.

In his closing remarks, Secretary General Mikuriya appreciated the contribution of the participants to the discussions and insisted on the need to coordinate future works with the relevant WCO working bodies and to promote and use existing WCO instruments and tools.  

The next session of the WGDS will be held at the WCO Headquarters in May 2023.