WCO's 4th WGDS Meeting: Enhancing Customs Data and Statistical Standards

29 May 2024

From 6 to 7 May 2024, the World Customs Organization hosted the 4th session of its Working Group on Data and Statistics (WGDS) at its Brussels headquarters in a hybrid format.

In his opening remarks, WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, expressed profound appreciation to the delegates for their significant contributions to data-focused initiatives. He underscored the pivotal roles and milestones of the Working group, such as the critical role of fostering a data-driven work culture through establishing definitions and standards for Customs statistics,  sharing use cases on statistics standardization and data sharing for Members to adopt, and guiding the evolution of the WCO Data strategy.

The Working Group reviewed progress made in standardizing customs statistics definitions and standards since the 3rd WGDS session, based on the results of five intersessional meetings, which included expanding the standardized set to additional enforcement areas while aligning with other WCO working bodies. The inclusion of the standards in the 2024 Annual Survey was also emphasized, highlighting their practical application.

Under the initiative of U.S. Customs, the Working Group considered the "Compendium of Best Practices for Customs Statistics," an essential guide derived from collaborative and comprehensive efforts during the intersession to standardize data across diverse customs environments. The Compendium, a living document to be regularly updated with relevant refined Member practices, offers systematic guidelines and tools aimed to enhance data definition and customs statistics standardization based on Member experiences.

The WGDS also made considerable progress towards developing a comprehensive WCO Compendium on Data Sharing, informed by a detailed survey on the organizational, legal, and technical aspects of data sharing. The analysis of survey data provided insights into emerging trends and regional nuances, while practical experiences from Members emphasized the value of comprehensive data-sharing strategies.

The WGDS further considered recommendations for a review of the WCO Data Strategy and listened to insights from international organizations on the importance of a dynamic and responsive data strategy that incorporates internal reviews and external benchmarking exercises.

Finally, followed Member use-cases of AI tailored to Customs and developments regarding a  WCO project (Smart Customs Project) aimed to enhance customs operations, promote innovation, and facilitate data-driven decision-making through the use of AI.

The next WGDS session is scheduled for 7-9 October 2024, where further advancements in Customs data initiatives will be explored and shared.

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.