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Customs Organization studies challenges of growing global e-commerce

September 29, 2016

The first meeting of the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Working Group on E-Commerce was held at the WCO headquarters in Brussels from September 21 to 23 to discuss opportunities and challenges stemming from the growing trade in e-commerce, in particular, cross-border low-value business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) shipments, from both a trade facilitation and a control perspective.

More than 175 delegates attended the meeting, representing a broad variety of stakeholders, including Customs administrations and partner international organizations, as well as representatives of the postal and express service industry, e-vendors, e-commerce platforms, and online payment providers.

Participants agreed that e-commerce has changed the landscape for Customs: from a few well known importers and exporters, it now has to manage a large number of e-enabled exporters and importers that are not well-known, and which transactions may be irregular. Risk is now diffused, and finding practical solutions will require the input of all actors involved.

The newly established Working Group concluded its inaugural meeting with much motivation for its future work.

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