UN-hosted International Customs Day puts spotlight on data and digitalisation of trade

Thu 27 Jan 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

International Customs Day (ICD), celebrated annually on 26 January, was this year dedicated to scaling up customs digital transformation and making better use of data.

The event is held each year on 26 January to commemorate the inaugural session of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in 1953. 

ICD highlights the role that customs officals and agencies play in ensuring the smooth flow of goods across world borders,while underlining their working conditions and challenges.

WCO call out

Calling on customs professionals to work together to build a data ecosystem and ensure a bright future for the customs community, WCO secretary general Dr Kunio Mikuriya said customs authorities should leverage their digital transformation to take advantage of the power of data.

“Gathering, sharing and analysing data will empower customs administrations to apply innovation to their border procedures, contribute to evidence-based decisions and foster an open data society,” he said.

Global recognition

Around the world, the work of the customs community was heralded.

US ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said ICD was a recognition of the important work that customs officials carried out, reported the US embassy in Georgia.

“You see what they do in terms of making it easy for legal goods to come in and out of Georgia, but what you might not see is how hard they work to protect Georgia against illicit contraband that is trying to come in or go out of this country,” she said.

Pakistan digital transformation

Business Recorder reports that a pilot project for Pakistan’s new and improved Single Window Project is a major step in digital transformation and is in the process of integration with local and regional stake holders including banks, transporter courier services, and bonded carriers. 

First Post reports that WCO represents 183 customs administrations which process about 98% of world trade. The WCO is the only global body which represents the international customs community.

IOE&IT Single Trade Window survey

On behalf of the Cabinet Office, the IOE&IT today launched a survey encouraging the trade community to help shape development of the UK's Single Trade Window, to which the government is committing more than £180m in funding. 

The government’s 2025 Border Strategy sets out its vision for the UK border to be the most effective in the world.

Having a Single Trade Window – a system that allows traders to lodge information digitally with a single body to fulfil all national import or export related regulatory requirements – is a key commitment of this strategy.

Respond to the survey here and help design the UK's Single Trade Window to suit your trading needs.

Code changes

Changes to the WCO’s global goods classification system were introduced on 1 January 2022, as previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update.

The Harmonized System (HS) is used by member nations for the international classification of goods when they are being traded across borders.

It consists of six-digit identification codes for more than 5,000 commodity groups. These six-digit codes then comprise the first six numbers in the commodity codes set by national governments and trade blocs for imports and exports.

The IOE&IT’s one-day ‘How to classify your goods’ course will next run on 17 February. It explains the role and importance of commodity codes and how to correctly use ‘the Tariff’, which incorporates the WCO’s Harmonized System 2022, to determine the correct code for your goods.