WCO Strategic Trade Control Enforcement Implementation Guide

WCO Strategic Trade Control Enforcement Implementation GuideThis Implementation Guide responds to requests from World Customs Organization (WCO) Members for practical assistance related to the enforcement of strategic trade controls. It was first published in 2014 as part of the former STCE Project, now the STCE Programme, and it was updated and improved in 2019. It is intended to serve as a guide for WCO Members in the development and review of their Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) processes and procedures, and provide a framework for training in those areas. Depending on each administration’s situation this Guide will serve different purposes, whether it is finding out how to take the first step or how to enhance the effectiveness of an existing system. As this is a Guide, the recommendations included in it are not mandatory.

It is divided into two principal sections, one for senior Customs managers and policy officials, and one for operational Customs officers. The section for senior managers discusses the importance of strategic trade controls, the role of Customs, and how to establish STCE procedures and processes and create conditions for their success. The section for operational Customs officers discusses the techniques used to carry out those activities. In particular, this section outlines the major functions that comprise the overall strategic trade control process and several related activities.

Several Annexes follow those two sections. Annex I tabulates some of the international STCE commitments taken by WCO Members relative to the international framework discussed in section 1.1.2. Annex II provides concise background on the weapons of mass destruction that largely determine what goods are considered strategic in the international context. Annex III provides profiles of many strategic goods. This Annex has been organized following the Chapters of the Harmonized System (HS), to provide a reference on strategic goods from a Customs perspective. Annex IV briefly discusses some challenges in using the HS for strategic goods and outlines some other coding systems that may be considered. Annex V uses one of those coding systems, the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry, to provide a concise list of strategic chemicals by CAS number. Finally, Annex VI provides a glossary of terms and Annex VII provides an alphabetical index of the strategic commodities presented in Annex III.


Under the STCE Project and the STCE Programme, the WCO conducted two global operations, named Cosmo 1 and Cosmo 2, the latter being the largest security-focused operation ever conducted by the WCO, with 114 countries and many international organizations participating.

The STCE Programme is now moving forward with the conduct of regionally focused-operations, in order to enhance cooperation among neighboring countries and be able to efficiently draw attention to the topics and commodities relevant to the region involved. One regional operation (Operation ASEAN Cosmo) has already been conducted - in February 2020 - and others are being planned for next year.

Capacity Building
In 2020 the STCE Programme has conducted three national trainings and one French language train-the-trainer event. Due to the health crisis related to the COVID-19 disease, other capacity building events have had to be postponed and the plan now is to deliver them in an online format. The STCE team is working hard to adapt the curriculum efficiently for this new delivery method, and will conduct a few regional and national trainings in the coming months.

The STCE team is currently working on the production of an e-learning course.