The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have signed a joint declaration setting out common objectives in the areas of digitalization, data exchange, supply chain security and capacity building at the inaugural WCO–UPU Global Conference.
Held in Tokyo on June 6-8, and jointly hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan Customs and Japan Post, the conference brought together more than 600 high-level officials, policymakers and operational experts from customs and postal communities, academic institutions and partner organizations from over 100 countries.
The conference, organized as the first significant step under a cooperation agreement signed by the two organizations in May 2022, offered a platform to exchange information, experiences, expertise and best practices, while increasing awareness of the customs and postal regulatory frameworks, mandates and available instruments and tools.
Under the overall theme of “Challenges and opportunities for cross-border e-commerce through customs and postal cooperation”, participants deliberated on various topics relating to common challenges and cooperation opportunities between customs, posts, government authorities and wider sector stakeholders. These topics included electronic advance data (EAD) and policy standardization and harmonization.
Implementing EAD with reliable quality, leveraging digitization and technology, and achieving greater synergy at all levels were identified as key factors in ensuring improved customs procedures, increased compliance and the greater efficiency, safety and security of the global postal chain.
The joint declaration reiterates a clear commitment to enhanced cooperation and coordination between the WCO and the UPU, and their members, setting out the common objectives of facilitating trade and transportation while interconnecting the world and protecting the public from the risks posed by illegal and dangerous goods. The declaration was signed by Dr Kunio Mikuriya, secretary general of the WCO, and Masahiko Metoki, UPU director general.
At the closing ceremony, Mikuriya noted the significance of the conference and its policy-related and operational recommendations, stating that both customs and posts have a critical role in securing and facilitating legitimate global trade. He expressed the WCO’s willingness to work more closely with the UPU to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, so as to ensure a smooth, safe and secure postal supply chain that operates in a harmonized and efficient manner.
Metoki underlined the importance of maintaining the momentum created by the conference, so that participants can use this experience to benefit their customers and contribute to the improvement of public and private services around the world. Calling the joint declaration a symbol of the partners’ shared commitment, he expressed his hope that it would help them to maintain motivation in order to tackle many further challenges in the future.