Trade Facilitation
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Trade Facilitation

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Customs is an integral part of the international Supply Chains. Although it continues to play a key role in the collection of duties and taxes, customs role nowadays has expanded to include Supply Chain security and facilitation of legitimate international trade. In addition, protecting citizens against threats such as contaminated food, unsafe toys, fake medicines and other counterfeit products is also a new imperative.

World Customs Organization (WCO) - the intergovernmental organization uniquely focused on customs matters - represents 174 Customs administrations across the globe and sets strategic direction for Customs globally. GS1 has joined hands with the WCO since November 2007 in recognition of the wide range of business interests shared by them and to provide a framework for further cooperation. Their achievements thus far clearly demonstrate that many of the challenges faced by Customs organisations in every country in the world can be met by using GS1 Standards. GS1’s identification numbers provides the WCO with global standards for the management of goods and assets and the reconciliation of data. These standards contribute to the WCO’s efforts to secure and facilitate international trade and increase the efficiency and predictability of customs procedures at national borders.

GS1 standards can help make Customs operations safer and more efficient because:

  • GS1 Standards are global, proven, time-tested and trusted by businesses across 150 countries for its user-driven approach to collaborative work.
  • GS1 Standards create the possibility of a simple and immediate “single window”. A submission (e.g.: Customs declaration) can be easily accessed by multiple parties (e.g.: ministry of agriculture, tax & duties department etc.)
  • GS1 Standards are neutral and non-proprietary. Other so-called “standards” proposed by ‘for-profit’ companies may have hidden strategies to lock customers into proprietary technology to ensure continual revenue generation down the line.
  • GS1 Standards are already widely used by the most well-known manufacturers, retailers and logistics firms – the same companies that the WCO has identified as Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs). In other words, our biggest users are also your biggest users.
  • GS1 Identification Keys such as the GSIN are allocated to transport units early in the Supply Chain process, usually right after manufacturing or during the packaging process; as a result they can serve as the “passport” for a shipment, identifying a transport unit during its entire life cycle.
  • GS1 Standards are entirely bearer-independent and works with both barcodes and RFID tags.
  • GS1 Standards open the door to a wide variety of traceability applications, which themselves contribute to border security and anti-fraud applications.

The WCO, GS1 UCR pilot, the first joint customs and trade initiative that had the objective of addressing issues combining Supply Chain security and trade facilitation, demonstrated that though the commercially used identifier SSCC met requirements of both the WCO and national customs administrations for the unique identifier of the shipments in the international Supply Chain the level of identification was too detailed for present customs operations. As a result, GS1 has proposed the GS1 GSIN to identify grouped transport units crossing the border under one commercial order. Perhaps most importantly, the project showed that Customs and industry can successfully work together to find solutions relating to issues concerning security and trade facilitation.

Download the GS1 Standards in Customs brochure