Information Management Sub-Committee

Confirmed by the Council - June 2003

Updated - July 2017

Established: 1996

Duration: Unspecified

1. Mandate

The Information Management Sub-Committee (IMSC) is established in order to initiate work and studies on all aspects of the use of Information Technology and the management of information in the Customs area, with a view to allowing for greater facilitation of international trade, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of Customs control and identifying potentials for improving existing systems and reducing costs. To this end the IMSC will take only those actions which support the WCO Strategic Plan.

2. Membership

Each Member of the WCO and any other Contracting Party to a Convention established or administered by the WCO shall have the right to be represented as a member on the IMSC. However, opinions on any matter concerning a particular Convention shall be formulated only by the representatives of Contracting Parties to that Convention. Other representatives to which that Convention does not apply shall participate in the discussion as observers only.

Representatives of international organizations, business/private sector associations and members of the Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) in their individual capacity, are able to attend sessions of the Sub-Committee as observers.

Subject to the approval of the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee, the Secretary General may invite representatives of non-Member governments to attend meetings of the Sub-Committee as observers.

3. Purpose and Scope

To achieve the mandate, the IMSC should :

(i) Evaluate and keep Members informed of new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) developments and their impact on Customs;

(ii) Develop/enhance tools and instruments relating to Digital Customs and e-commerce, supporting, among others, the implementation of provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention and the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation;

(iii) Provide guidance and oversight on the development, maintenance, and promotion of the WCO Data Model;

(iv) Provide advice and guidance and launch special programmes for Members to assist them in streamlining current procedures, in progressively adopting ICT and in resolving difficulties (e.g. with electronic signatures and other legal issues) including those stemming from e-commerce;

(v) Seek access for Members to additional resources to implement ICT by co-operating with other governmental and non-governmental international organizations;

(vi) Continue to promote, in close co-operation with other international organizations, the implementation of ICT, including the WCO Data Model and other international standards (e.g., UN/EDIFACT) , for the interchange of Customs information among Customs administrations and between Customs administrations and trade participants including new and emerging stakeholders in the e-commerce supply chain;

(vii) Identify Members’ training and Capacity Building needs in the application of ICT and seek the assistance, where necessary, of Member administrations and other international organizations for this training;

(viii) Assist Members in enhancing their efforts in Customs control and trade facilitation by employing ICT.

4. Key Deliverables

At the conclusion of each session, the IMSC shall approve a list of proposals or recommendations to be submitted to the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) for action. This list should also detail any amendments to the IMSC’s programme of future work. The draft report of each session of the IMSC will be distributed to delegates after the session for their written comments. The IMSC shall approve the report on its session for submission to the PTC on the first day of its next session.

5. Means of Operation


The IMSC shall elect annually its own Chairperson and one or more Vice Chairpersons from among the representatives of its members. The retiring Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons are eligible for re-election.

The Chairperson shall participate in the proceedings as such and not as a representative of a member of the Sub-Committee. The IMSC shall seek to reach agreed views on any matter examined and shall report them to the relevant Committee. If agreement cannot be reached on a question, the differing views together with their supporting rationales shall be reported.


The Agenda for each session shall be drawn up by the Secretary General in consultation with the Chairperson of the IMSC and shall be distributed to the Members of the IMSC at least 30 days in advance of the opening date of the session, except in case of urgency. Working documents, especially those which may require consultation at the national level, should also be available to Members in sufficient time.

The Agenda shall comprise all items whose inclusion has been approved by the Council or by any Committee of the WCO, all items whose inclusion has been proposed by the Secretary General, the Chairperson of the IMSC or any Member of the WCO.

6. Resources Required


The IMSC shall hold its sessions as and when required and subject to approval by the Council. It shall normally hold no more than two sessions a year.

General administrative arrangements:

The general administrative arrangements for the IMSC, including the date and duration of each session and the priorities to be fixed for the items on the Sub-Committee’s Agenda, shall be the responsibility of the Secretary General.