World Customs Organization, a still unknown body


Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization(WCO), talks about the birth and the functions of this international, inter-governmental organization still little know for those unfamiliar with customs matters. The WCO, headquartered in Brussels, was created by the Convention establishing the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC), signed on 15 December 1950 and entered into force on 1952. In 1994 the CCC changes its name in "World Customs Organization" and progressively enlarge his membership reaching a total of 176 members. Among its objectives there is the development of global standards for customs procedures (that, in turn, arise from the best practices of its members), as well as the harmonization and the simplification worldwide of customs procedures, so that international exchanges can take place without particular hindrance. This is the main goal, in particular, of the Kyoto Convention, signed on 18 May 1973 and entered into force on 25 September 1974 (on 1999 the Convention is amended and its name is changed in 'Revised Kyoto Convention), one of the most important Conventions that the Organization administers. The revised Convention of Kyoto represents at global level the main tool of facilitation of trade and a blueprint for effective and modern customs procedures. Other important functions that the WCO carries out relate to the administration of the Harmonized System (HS), which is - at global level - the most widespread system of classification of goods for customs purposes (the customs tariffs of more than 200 Countries worldwide are based on the HS), as well as of the technical aspects related to the WCO Agreements on the Customs Valutation (ACV) and on the Rules of Origin (AROO).