About WCO

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.


  • Today, the WCO represents 184 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively processes approximately 98% of world trade. As the global center of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.

WCO Functions: Develop, maintain and implement instruments

The first core function of the WCO is to provide Members with an adequate set of instruments with which to face the realities of the modern world. This function can be implemented through the development of new tools, responding to new opportunities and challenges, and also the update of existing tools, to make them fit for purpose with regard to these opportunities and challenges.

Foster Customs cooperation

The second core function of the WCO is to promote and support coordination and cooperation, both between Customs and with other agencies and the private sector. Further cooperation can support the implementation of standards and raise the influence of Customs at borders. This function, therefore, focuses on the practical aspects of Customs-to-Customs cooperation, by supporting the exchange of information and intelligence, facilitated by the organization and conduct of joint operations.

Build capacity

The third core function relates to the delivery of capacity-building support and technical assistance to Members. The actions undertaken in this area help Members implement WCO standards and tools (SP1) and strengthen Customs cooperation (SP2). To support the modernization of Customs, these actions also provide assistance in developing the organizational capacity of Customs administrations. In addition, the Strategic Plan will aim at improving the overall approach of the WCO in terms of capacity-building delivery, especially through the development and maintenance of the needed expertise in key areas.


Research activities will be aligned fully with the core functions and focus areas of the WCO, and with full consideration to the desirable futures of the Environmental Scan, in order to adequately respond to the main areas of focus of the WCO as a whole. Research activities will clearly feed the overall direction taken by the WCO, and will support the development of material to respond to current opportunities and challenges while preparing for the future. These initiatives will be fully integrated within WCO processes to make sure that research is responding directly to the targets and objectives of the Strategic Plan.


Communication is an area that requires renewed focus by the WCO, and communication objectives, planning, and activities need to be formulated around the content of the Strategic Plan. To reach out to a wider audience and raise awareness of the important work carried out by Customs globally, the WCO will have to join hands with Customs administrations to devise global and regional communication plans and strategies to raise the profile of Customs and bolster the role of the WCO in the international arena.