WCO SAFE Package

WCO tools to secure and facilitate global trade

In June 2005 the WCO Council adopted the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework) that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, to secure revenue collections and to promote trade facilitation worldwide. In 2007, the WCO’s flagship Customs-Business partnership programme - the Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) Programme - was introduced.

The SAFE Framework has emerged as the global Customs community’s concerted response to threats to supply chain security, equally supporting facilitation of legitimate and secure businesses. It prescribes baseline standards that have been tested and are working well around the globe. This unique international instrument endeavors to usher in a safer world trade regime and also heralds a new approach to working methods and partnership for both Customs and business towards a common goal based on trust.

The Framework has been regularly updated to effectively address new and emerging developments in international supply chains. Notable additions were provisions on AEO Programme, Coordinated Border Management and Trade Continuity and Resumption, Pillar 3 (Customs-to-Other Government and Inter-Government Agencies), and Pre-loading Advance Cargo Information (ACI) for air cargo.

The 2021 version of the SAFE Framework: strengthens co-operation between Customs and Other Government Agencies; promotes smart security devices to optimize Customs control and effectively monitor the movement of goods in a real-time basis; and, includes baseline provisions on the development of regional Customs union AEO programmes and the implementation of mutual recognition.

The updated SAFE Framework further enhances data elements by aligning the dataset on air cargo security with the data elements specified in the WCO’s Data Model and consolidates the reporting mechanisms on the implementation of the SAFE Framework.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, to bolster the resilience and recovery of global supply chains, the “AEO Implementation and Validation Guidance” was developed by upgrading the three current documents “AEO Implementation Guidance”, “AEO Template” and “Customs AEO Validator Guide”. The new Guidance brings together the best practices, knowledge and lessons learned from Members in order to simplify the AEO implementation process and align the AEO requirements with Customs validation processes. It also introduces a suggested approach to virtual re-validations and the use of modern technologies to support business continuity and to ensure the resilience of the AEO programmes during a pandemic.

In addition, the SAFE Package 2021 includes, among other things, a number of new and updated tools such as the “Regional Customs union AEO programmes and plurilateral MRAs” (annex V of the existing AEO MRA Strategy Guide), the AEO Compendium 2020 edition, the Secretariat Note on expanding the concept of AEO to cross-border e-commerce, the Unified File Format (UFF) 2.0 Technical Specification, two updates of the WCO Guidelines for the Procurement and Deployment of Scanning/NII Equipment (NII Guidelines), joint WCO-ICAO Guidelines on Alignment of the Customs AEO and Aviation Security Regulated Agent ((RA)/Known Consignor (KC) programmes and last but not least the joint WCO-ICAO Guiding principles on Pre-loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI).

As capacity building assistance remains a vital part of the SAFE implementation strategy, the WCO will reinforce its capacity building efforts in meeting the needs of Customs and stakeholders in a structured and ongoing manner that will ensure harmonization and sustainable implementation of the Framework.

The WCO Secretariat hopes that Members of the Organization and its partners from the business community and other international organizations will find the SAFE Package and its contents a valuable aid both in understanding the dynamics of this major WCO instrument and in its global application and implementation.


Table of Contents

I. SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade - 2021 edition [*ar] [*es] [*ru]

II. Instruments and guidelines relating to the first pillar (Customs-to-Customs)

III. Instruments and guidelines relating to the second pillar (Customs-to-Business and Authorized Economic Operator)

IV. Instruments and guidelines relating to the third pillar (Cooperation between Customs and other Government and Inter-Government agencies)

V. Trade Recovery Guidelines [es] [ru]


VI. Others tools of interest for the implementation of the SAFE FoS


Cover: download here.

* This translation has been provided by the Regional Office for Capacity Building for the North of Africa, Near and Middle East Region

* Text translated into Spanish from the original English and French versions of the SAFE Framework of Standards- 2012, with the kind collaboration of Argentina’s Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos (AFIP).