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World customs Organization (WCO)

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The history of WCO began in 1948 when thirteen European governments set up two committees – a European Economic Committee (later – World Trade Organization) and a Customs Committee. In 1952 the Customs Committee became the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC). After years of membership growth, in 1994 the Council adopted the working name World Customs Organization (WCO).

The WCO has 171 members. The WCO headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WCO was set up to enhance the efficiency of customs administrations. To fulfill this mission, the WCO:

* establishes and promotes international instruments for uniform application of customs procedures governing the movement of commodities, people and conveyances across customs frontiers;

* reinforces Members’ efforts to interdict and disrupt the illicit trade and to combat customs and other transnational offences;

* assists Members in their efforts to improve the management and working methods of Customs administrations and to share the best practices.

Besides, the WCO has worked out and maintains the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System and Goods Nomenclature which are used to classify goods for tariff purposes.

The WCO is currently the only intergovernmental organization exclusively focused on customs matters. The WCO is recognized for its work in areas covering:

- the development of global standards;

- the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures;

- the facilitation of international trade;

- the enhancement of customs enforcement and compliance activities;

- the anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives, etc.

Nowadays, the WCO is responsible for processing more than 98% of the

world trade and is trying to adapt to changing circumstances and meet the challenges of modern business environment.


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