What is the WCO?

The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), is the only intergovernmental organization whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.

Today, the WCO represents 180 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global center of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.

The WCO’s governing body – the Council – relies on the competence and skills of a Secretariat and a range of technical and advisory committees to accomplish its mission. The Secretariat, comprising over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities.

As a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegates, the WCO offers its Members a range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided either directly by the Secretariat, or with its participation. The Secretariat also actively supports its Members in their endeavors to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.

Besides the vital role played by the WCO in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade, its efforts to combat fraudulent activities are also recognized internationally. The partnership approach championed by the WCO is one of the keys to building bridges between Customs administrations and their partners. By promoting the emergence of an honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, the WCO directly contributes to the economic and social well-being of its Members.

Finally, in an international environment characterized by instability and the ever-present threat of terrorist activity, the WCO’s mission to enhance the protection of society and the national territory, and to secure and facilitate international trade, takes on its full meaning.

 

WCO Strategic Goals

Strategic Goal 1 - Promote the security and facilitation of international trade, including simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures = Economic Competitiveness Package

Strategic Goal 2 - Promote fair, efficient, and effective Revenue collection = Revenue Package

Strategic Goal 3 - Protect society, public health and safety = Compliance and Enforcement Package

Strategic Goal 4 - Strengthen Capacity Building = Organizational Development Package

Strategic Goal 5 - Promote information exchange between all stakeholders

Strategic Goal 6 - Raise the performance and profile of Customs

Strategic Goal 7 - Conduct Research and Analysis

 

WCO 180 Members

 

WCO Members, three-quarters of which are developing countries, are responsible for managing more than 98% of world trade. They are divided into 6 regions:

South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean

Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay*, Venezuela.

 

Europe

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan*, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union**, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

 

East and Southern Africa

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi*, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

 

West and Central Africa

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria*, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Togo.

 

North of Africa, Near and Middle East

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco*, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

 

Far East, South and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands

 Afghanistan (Islamic Republic of), Australia*, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Korea (Republic of), Laos, Macau (China), Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Union of Myanmar (Republic of the), Vanuatu, Vietnam.

 

* Vice-Chairperson and Regional Representative

** The European Communities has rights akin to those of a WCO Member for matters falling within its competency as an interim measure