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The Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) is currently a matter of high priority at the World Customs Organization (WCO).  Economic competitiveness starts with trade facilitation. Customs administrations undeniably play an important role in trade facilitation. Indeed, facilitating trade is one of the key objectives of the WCO and the Organization has contributed, through its tools and instruments as well as through technical assistance, to increasing the economic competitiveness and growth of Members.

The Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) is designed to support the first pillar of the WCO Strategic Plan (Promote security and facilitation of international trade, including simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures). It is comprised of existing WCO tools and instruments, which contribute to the enhancement of economic competitiveness by promoting trade facilitation, while ensuring security of global supply chains. In addition, the ECP may also contribute to Strategic Goal five (Promote Digital Customs to support, in particular, Coordinated Border Management and information exchange between all stakeholders) and six (Raise the performance and profile of Customs) of the WCO Strategic Plan.

The WCO Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), which entered into force in 2006, is the major tool for this purpose. More recently, and in response to the growing need for an efficient supply chain in a rapidly changing world, the WCO further developed guides and best practices which were incorporated in the WCO ECP, adopted in 2012.

The ECP Concept

The ECP comprises the existing WCO instruments and tools which contribute to economic growth. First and foremost, the principles laid down in the RKC are recognized as forming the core of the ECP and as the foundation for modern and efficient Customs procedures.

The ECP also comprises all the other instruments, tools and standards relating to supply chain facilitation and security, such as the SAFE Framework of Standards, the Risk Management and Single Window Compendiums as well as the Data Model, to name a few.  In the context of partnership with trade, consideration has to be given to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as they may serve as an engine for economic growth. Globally Networked Customs (GNC) enhances cooperation between Customs administrations as well as cooperation with the private sector.

Better Coordinated Border Management (CBM) implies that a large number of agencies involved in border security and regulatory requirements must find new ways to work effectively in order to enhance connectivity. Transit is playing a key role in the promotion of such regional integration. Finally, integrity forms the foundation of all Customs activities, including the enhancement of economic competitiveness.