WCO Data Model

The WCO Data Model (DM) has been the data foundation for global trade interoperability for over two decades. It was developed to provide a universal language for cross-border data exchange enabling the implementation of Single Window systems and fueling Data Analytics. It is a compilation of clearly structured, harmonized, standardized, and reusable sets of data definitions and electronic messages designed to meet the operational and legal requirements of Customs and other cross-border regulatory agencies (CBRAs) responsible for border management. It is mapped to the United Nations Trade Data Elements Directory (UN/TDED) and leverages standards established by international organizations such as the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the International Organization of Standards (ISO) to ensure global interoperability. The DM significantly reduces costs and improves efficiencies for Members and other stakeholders, such as the business community.

The current version of the DM, version 3, has evolved to meet the needs of its users over the years. Solutions for Customs automated systems, Multi-Modal Manifest, and XML were some of the enhancements offered to meet increased governmental regulatory requirements and the demands for new technologies. Beyond Customs requirements, the WCO DM also includes harmonized datasets that facilitate inter-agency collaboration within a Single Window environment eliminating redundancy in export, import, and transit procedures. These datasets were developed by the WCO in cooperation with relevant international organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), and CODEX.

The global trade landscape continues to rapidly change as advancements in technology make data more accessible and governments adjust regulations to leverage these advancements. The role of the DM as the data foundation becomes even more essential as the WCO and Members focus on formulating a data strategy. The next release of the WCO DM, Version 4, will keep the DM at the forefront by supporting cutting edge technologies and making vast improvements to the model. Version 4 is coming in June 2023!

The WCO Data Model is managed by the Data Model Projects Team (DMPT). Participation is open to all interested parties, who may contact dm@wcoomd.org for more information.