Annex G. WCO cross-border e-commerce framework of standards (2018)

The Framework of Standards is intended to provide global baseline standards to assist Customs and other relevant government agencies in developing E-Commerce strategic and operational frameworks supplemented by action plans and timelines. It provides the standards for the effective management of cross-border E-Commerce from both facilitation and control perspectives.

  • Standard 1: Legal Framework for Advance Electronic Data

A legal and regulatory framework should be established for requiring advance electronic exchange of data between relevant parties involved in the E-Commerce supply chain, and Customs administrations and other relevant government agencies to enhance facilitation and control measures, taking into account applicable laws, inter alia, those related to competition (anti-trust), and data security, privacy, protection, ownership.

  • Standard 2: Use of International Standards for Advance Electronic Data

Relevant WCO and other international standards and guidance should be implemented in accordance with national policy, in an effective and harmonised manner, to facilitate the exchange of advance electronic data.

  • Standard 3: Risk Management for Facilitation and Control

Customs administrations should develop and apply dynamic risk management techniques that are specific to the E-Commerce context to identify shipments that present a risk.

  • Standard 4: Use of Non-Intrusive Inspection Technologies and Data Analytics

Customs administrations should use data analytics and screening methodologies in conjunction with non-intrusive inspection equipment, across all modes of transportation and operators, as part of risk management, with a view to facilitating cross-border E-Commerce flows and strengthening Customs controls.

  • Standard 5: Simplified Clearance Procedures

Customs administrations, working in coordination with other relevant government agencies as appropriate, should establish and maintain simplified clearance formalities/procedures utilising pre-arrival processing and risk assessment of cross-border E-Commerce shipments, and procedures for immediate release of low-risk shipments on arrival or departure. Simplified clearance formalities/procedures should include, as appropriate, an account-based system for collecting duties and/or taxes and handling return shipments.

  • Standard 6: Expanding the Concept of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) to Cross-Border E-Commerce

Customs administrations should explore the possibilities of applying AEO Programmes and Mutual Recognition Arrangements/Agreements in the context of cross-border E-Commerce, including leveraging the role of intermediaries, to enable Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals to fully benefit from the opportunities of cross-border E-Commerce.

  • Standard 7: Models of Revenue Collection

Customs administrations, working with appropriate agencies or Ministries, should consider applying, as appropriate, various types of models of revenue collection (e.g., vendor, intermediary, buyer or consumer, etc.) for duties and/or taxes. In order to ensure the revenue collection, Customs administrations should offer electronic payment options, provide relevant information online, allow for flexible payment types and ensure fairness and transparency in its processes. Models that are applied should be effective, efficient, scalable, and flexible, supporting various business models and contributing to a level playing field for and among the various E-Commerce stakeholders.

  • Standard 8: De minimis

When reviewing and/or adjusting de minims thresholds for duties and/or taxes, Governments should make fully informed decisions based on specific national circumstances.

  • Standard 9: Prevention of Fraud and Illicit Trade

Customs administrations should work with other relevant government agencies to establish procedures for analysis and investigations of illicit cross-border E-Commerce activities with a view to prevent and detect fraud, deter the misuse of E-Commerce channels and disrupt illicit flows.

  • Standard 10: Inter-agency Cooperation and Information Sharing

Governments should establish cooperation frameworks between and among various national agencies through relevant electronic mechanisms including Single Window, as appropriate, in order to provide cohesive and coordinated response to safety and security risks stemming from cross-border E-Commerce, thus facilitating legitimate trade.

  • Standard 11: Public-Private Partnerships

Customs administrations should establish and strengthen cooperation partnerships with E-Commerce stakeholders to develop and enhance communication, coordination and collaboration, with an aim to optimise compliance and facilitation.

  • Standard 12: International Cooperation

Customs administrations should expand Customs cooperation and partnerships to the cross-border E-Commerce environment in order to ensure compliance and facilitation.

  • Standard 13: Communication, Public Awareness and Outreach

Customs administrations should make consumers, the public and other stakeholders aware of the regulatory requirements, risks and responsibilities associated with cross-border E-Commerce through comprehensive awareness raising, communication, education and outreach programmes.

  • Standard 14: Mechanism of Measurement

Customs administrations should work with relevant government agencies in close cooperation with E-Commerce stakeholders to accurately capture, measure, analyse and publish cross-border E-Commerce statistics in accordance with international statistical standards and national policy, for informed decision making.

  • Standard 15: Explore Technological Developments and Innovation

Customs administrations in collaboration with other relevant government agencies, private sector and academia, should explore innovative technological developments and consider whether these developments can contribute to more effective and efficient control and facilitation of cross-border E-Commerce.

Source: WCO.

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