WCO supports Nepal with the implementation of the National E Commerce Strategy

14 novembre 2019

The WCO, with the support of the Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF/Japan) and the ADB South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Programme, organized a ‘National Workshop on Cross-Border E-Commerce’ from 5 to 8 November 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The workshop was aimed at providing technical assistance to Nepal Customs and partner government agencies for developing an e-commerce regulatory framework, as well as identifying e-commerce specific Customs provisions/procedures that could support effective implementation of Nepal’s national e-commerce strategy that was issued earlier this year.

The workshop brought together more than 40 participants from Customs and partner government agencies such as Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Department of Information and Technology, Police and Post.

Experts from the WCO and Japan Customs explained the Customs perspective on the Cross-border e-commerce and presented different business models, global and regional trends, as well as key drivers/requirements for sustainable development of cross-border e-commerce.

After outlining the opportunities and challenges presented by cross-border E-commerce, experts introduced the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and explained each of the Standards contained therein, along with best practices and working examples of Japan Customs.

The Experts elucidated different aspects of the Framework, such as advance electronic data, risk management, and expedited shipments, and presented relevant WCO tools such as the Immediate Release Guidelines.
Additionally, the workshop discussed several cross-cutting issues concerning safety, security and illicit trade in the E-Commerce environment, as well as cooperation mechanisms between Nepal Customs and Post with regard to establishing the exchange of electronic advance data between Post and Customs for effective risk management.

Furthermore, the participants gained deeper insight into different models of revenue collection on e-commerce shipments and associated issues such as valuation, classification and rules of origin. Members’ initiatives (e.g., Australia and the EU) and related new regulations were provided. There was also a wide-ranging discussion on de minimis regime with a view to outlining key considerations that Nepal Customs could consider when determining a de minimis threshold that is best suited to its economic environment.

The Government of Nepal has launched a national e-commerce strategy in June 2019, setting out various strategies, related activities and lead/support roles of different agencies including Customs. One of the key objectives of this strategy is to integrate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into international and domestic supply chains and promote export of goods via e-commerce. In addition, a new Customs Bill in line with the provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) including some e-commerce related provisions is under consideration by the Cabinet.
In this context, the key tenets of the WCO Framework of Standards, related tools and global/national best practices were discussed with a view to support the implementation of Nepal’s national e-commerce strategy in an expeditious manner, involving all relevant government agencies and stakeholders.

Through detailed deliberations and analysis of the national e-commerce strategy and noting the roles of various agencies, in particular Customs, a set of recommended actions for cross-border e-commerce implementation strategy has been developed. Based on these recommendations, Nepal Customs will move forward with the implementation of the national e-commerce strategy in a phased manner. To that end, it has been recommended to constitute a technical inter-governmental committee comprising of all the pertinent agencies to carry out related activities.

The workshop led to an enhanced understanding of various aspects of e-commerce for developing/enhancing a legislative/regulatory framework for the promotion and development of cross-border e-commerce, while effectively addressing the challenges stemming therefrom.

At the concluding ceremony, Mr. Suman Dahal, Director General of Nepal Customs underlined the importance of facilitating cross-border e-commerce with a focus on export promotion by MSMEs via e-commerce, and thanked the WCO for organizing this workshop for supporting the implementation of the national e-commerce strategy.

The WCO will continue supporting Nepal in this area, based on their further specific needs and requirements.