BRUSSELS : On 23 October 2023, the World Customs Organization (WCO) held its second Symposium on E-Commerce and Customs Valuation.
Following the first Symposium in February, which underscored numerous challenges stemming from E-Commerce transactions, the latest Symposium delved into various practical issues. These included policies, procedures and practices, aimed at confronting the challenges posed by the ever-evolving trade dynamics of E-Commerce.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO, acknowledged the unique challenges in the E-Commerce sector, stating that “There is a clear need to look at how Customs and trade can more effectively determine Customs value”. He further spoke of the need for collaboration among stakeholders tackling similar problems, aiming for solutions beneficial to trade, society and Customs.
The Symposium showcased a broad spectrum of presentations from international organizations, Customs administrations and the private sector.
The WCO Secretariat emphasized its role in developing guidelines for the E-Commerce fulfilment process, complementing the frequently updated Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and the E-Commerce Package. The OECD addressed the collection of value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST), based on value calculations, , highlighting their Recommended Framework for Collection of VAT/GST on Low-Value Imported Goods.
Discussing new regulatory proposals, the European Union provided an insight into its strategy for managing the E-Commerce phenomenon, pending approval from the European Council and Parliament. Brazil shared experiences in Customs control and its “Remessa Conforme” Program for E-Commerce transactions.
Amazon offered insights into its multifaceted business model, which includes operating both its E-Commerce platform and a marketplace, focusing on the fulfilment model. The Universal Postal Union (UPU) illustrated its efforts in fostering customer relationships and developing advanced IT solutions to enhance data quality.