WCO supports the MENA region with the implementation of the Cross border E-commerce Framework of Standards

31 janvier 2020

The WCO, in cooperation with Saudi Customs and with the financial support of the WCO CCF Reserves, organized a regional workshop on cross-border E-Commerce for MENA from 13 to 16 January 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The workshop was aimed at assisting WCO Members of the MENA region with the implementation of the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce to build capacities for addressing the challenges presented by growing cross-border E-Commerce.

The workshop brought together more than 30 participants coming from 14 Member Customs administrations of the MENA region and the private sector.

The WCO experts explained the Customs perspective on the Cross-border E-commerce and presented the different business models, global and regional trends and the key drivers/ requirements for its development. Industry experts shared business perspectives, elaborating potential opportunities for enhancing collaboration between Customs and E-Commerce stakeholders, as well as successful projects such as the establishment of a pre-arrival processing system in some countries of the region.

After outlining the opportunities and challenges presented by the cross-border E-commerce for Customs administrations in the region, experts introduced the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and explained each of the Standards contained therein. The underlying intent and expectations stemming from various standards were discussed with a view to implementing the Framework in a harmonized and expeditious manner.

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 security and safety and illicit trade in the E-Commerce environment, as well as cooperation mechanisms between Customs and postal operators with regard to establishing interconnectivity of Customs and postal IT systems and the exchange of electronic advance data for an 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.   There was also a wide-ranging discussion on de minimis regimes that varied from one Member to another.

Throughout the workshop, several Members shared their implementation experiences and initiatives within the context of various standards of the Framework under four broad themes: trade facilitation and simplification; risk management and control measures for curbing criminal exploitation of E-Commerce including safety and security threats; postal issues, and revenue collection.