A step forward for harmonised regulatory framework for cross-border e-commerce

In a move intended to support the sound, secure, balanced and sustainable development of cross-border e-commerce, yesterday saw the adoption by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) of the ‘Beijing Declaration’.

The agreement - inked at the first global cross border e-commerce conference held in Beijing, China, last week - includes all suggestions and recommendations made by industry stakeholders related to facilitation, control, safety and security, revenue collection, measurement and analysis in the sector.

Delegates at the conference, jointly organised by the WCO and Customs China, called for the setting up of a standardised and harmonised regulatory framework for cross-border e-commerce that would establish mechanisms for the exchange of advance electronic data with appropriate data privacy and security safeguards. China Customs minister Yu Guangzhou said that this would enhance connectivity and bridge the digital divide, build capacity and infrastructure, and promote inclusivity.

According to WCO secretary general Kunio Mikuriya, the conference was aimed at strengthening cooperation on an “innovative, inclusive and strategic” approach to sustainable cross-border e-commerce.

“A coordinated and collaborative approach between and among all stakeholders at the international, regional and national level is vital to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable e-commerce environment, leading to an inclusive global trade system and increased economic growth,” he said.

Guangzhou noted that this would enable governments and the private sector to collectively address the current and emerging challenges in the sector. He pointed out that improving regulation and services would offer a more transparent, stable and predictable trade environment while providing the public with safe, convenient and efficient access to global goods.

"The conference has helped enhance consensus among all relevant parties on upgrading regulation principles, promoting trade security and facilitation, and achieving balanced development of global cross-border e-commerce," said Guangzhou.

The event was attended by over 2 000 high-level policy and decision makers – including operational experts from customs administrations and e-commerce operators – as well as other stakeholders in the cross-border e-commerce supply chain.

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