Terms of Reference for the Technical Experts Group on Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII)

Drafted - October 2015

Customs Co-Chairperson: Representative of a WCO Member administration

Private Sector Co-Chairperson: Representative of the private sector

Established: 2016

Duration: Until superseded or revoked

1. Mandate

The Technical Experts Group shall meet to fulfil the relevant SAFE Working Group Work Plan 2015 to 2017 endorsed by the Policy Commission and Council in June 2015. It is established to promote synergies between the Customs and Industry.

The Technical Experts Group is to act under the overall direction of the Policy Commission, and reports to the SAFE Working Group, with administrative support provided by the WCO Secretariat.

2. Membership

The membership will be open to all WCO Members and relevant NII Industry members.

3. Purpose and Scope

The Technical Experts Group on NII is established to promote synergies between the Customs and the Industry to develop a standard NII data format for the following purposes:

  • to facilitate interoperability of different NII equipment provided by different manufacturers/vendors;
  • to facilitate exchange of images in a unified file format within and between Customs administrations for Customs purposes;
  • to facilitate the development of databases or libraries of images; and
  • to assist in training of image analysts.

The Technical Experts Group on NII will discuss other NII technical issues as proposed by members of the Group.

Phase 1

  • To pilot the use of the unified file format (TIFF and BMP will be used as an interim format to share images before the final standard is developed) among interested Members and Industry;
  • Work to develop a structure for a standard and compatible interchangeable format. This structure must allow for standard format that allows innovation by Industry so that the system can be advanced; and
  • The detail of the Phase 2 will be executed after the pilot Phase 1.

Phase 2

  • Tabulate the Phase 1 pilot and make recommendations;
  • Define the requirements for Phase 2;
  • Launch and execute the architecture of the unified file format;
  • Test and evaluate the Phase 2 architecture;
  • Launch the preliminary discussions on the approach for Phase 3.

Phase 3

  • Finalise the approach for Phase 3;
  • Launch the standardization process;
  • Finalise and implement the architecture of the unified file format;
  • Address data transport implications and architecture, including data security and encryption

4. Key Deliverables

The Technical Experts Group’s key deliverables will include but not be limited to the following :

  • Minimum requirement document.
  • Mechanism for transport of data.
  • Structure for a database architecture.
  • Training tools.
  • Document defining the roles and responsibilities between Industry and Customs administrations.
  • Unified file format standard.

5. Means of Operation

The Technical Experts Group elects the Co-Chairpersons from among the members of the Group. The meetings will be conducted in the two official languages of the Organization, English and French, and will be held at the WCO Headquarters, unless participants agree otherwise. Work between the meetings will be conducted by electronic means (e-mail, etc.). A summary report on the outcome of each meeting will be prepared by the WCO Secretariat and circulated to the members of the Group. The members of the Group will have within 20 working days to indicate any comments on the draft report.

6. Resources Required

The Technical Experts Group will hold its sessions as and when required, and subject to approval by the appropriate body (SAFE Working Group).  However, the Secretary General may determine whether circumstances dictate the need for scheduling meetings more or less frequently. Normally each session will last two days, depending on the number and complexity of items on the agenda.

The general administrative arrangements and provision of support services shall be the responsibility of the WCO Secretariat.