About customs

Cooperating with Customs

The growing e-commerce market means that an unprecedented number of parcels and small packages are being exchanged across borders, making seamless collaboration between Posts and Customs more necessary than ever.

The UPU works actively with partners in the supply chain to keep mail moving across borders and ensure that these mail items reach their destination safely and on time.

WCO–UPU cooperation

One example of such cooperation is with the World Customs Organization (WCO): the WCO–UPU Contact Committee was established in 1964 at the Universal Postal Congress in Vienna as a means to collaborate on issues related to the clearance of postal items through customs.

This joint committee develops procedures and publications to guide Post–Customs work at the national and international level. The two organizations also engage in joint capacity-building projects, organizing workshops on postal customs issues for developing countries.

UPU solutions

The Customs Declaration System (CDS), created by the UPU’s Postal Technology Centre, helps streamline customs clearance by allowing participating Posts and Customs to exchange advance data and calculate required duties and taxes.  

For packages sent, UPU regulations require Posts to share information about the sender, contents and value with customs authorities. This information used to be sent with packages by means of a paper form, but CDS now enables Posts to share this information via electronic data interchange (EDI) messaging before the package is sent. This advance information can help Customs decrease its own processing times.

CDS also enables customs authorities to send EDI messages to Posts. For example, Customs can use the platform to notify Posts if an item has been rejected during the screening process. This, in turn, allows Posts to better track packages as they make their way through the supply chain.