Towards the use of advanced technologies in cross-border trade by customs administrations globally, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have launched a joint publication on Customs use of advanced technologies.
The publication titled, “The role of advanced technologies in cross-border trade: A customs perspective” provides the current state of play and sheds light on the opportunities and challenges Customs face when deploying these technologies.
The launch took place on a webinar that attracted more than 700 attendees and provided insights into how advanced technologies can help Customs administrations facilitate the flow of goods across borders.
The webinar presented the main findings from the WCO/WTO paper and featured presentations by Brazil, Nigeria, Singapore and the Inter-American Development Bank.
For a greater uptake of these technologies, the speakers underlined the importance of continuous sensitization of Customs and other stakeholders, the need for interoperability and implementation of international standards, the relevance of engaging in dialogues at the international level, as well as having a strategy and space for innovation and testing at the national level.
The publication outlines the key findings of WCO’s 2021 Annual Consolidated Survey and its results on Customs’ use of advanced technologies such as blockchain, the internet of things, data analytics and artificial intelligence to facilitate trade and enhance safety, security and fair revenue collection.
The joint publication highlights the benefits that can result from the adoption of these advanced technologies, such as enhanced transparency of procedures, sharing of information amongst all relevant stakeholders in real-time, better risk management, and improved data quality, leading to greater efficiency in Customs processes and procedures.
In his remarks, WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Treviño Chapa said, “Technologies will assist implementation of international trade facilitation rules and standards, such as the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with the WTO, to ensure that our work in assisting our Members’ digital transformation journeys is complementary, that we bring all relevant partners to the same table, and that we avoid duplication.”
In her opening remarks, WTO Deputy Director-General Anabel González noted, “Advanced technologies offer customs an opportunity to take a big leap forward on trade facilitation. Take blockchain. Its widespread application could help us make trade both more transparent and less paper-intensive. That would reduce trade costs, which is good news for everyone, especially small businesses, which are disproportionately affected by red tape at the border.”