UPU and WCO strengthen cooperation on global trade

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) have signed a cooperation agreement targeting deeper collaboration in order to harness new opportunities in e-commerce and network security.

UPU Director General Masahiko Metoki and WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya signed the agreement within the context of the UPU’s Postal Operations Council taking place in Berne this week.

“Our two organizations are united in our common objectives – serving the citizens of the world and facilitating trade and commerce, while ensuring the security and safety of the global postal network,” said the UPU Director General. “The ongoing digital transformation, e-commerce and global economic development mean many new challenges and opportunities for both organizations.”

For his part, the World Customs Organization Secretary General said, “We hope that we can further promote Post-Customs cooperation in the digital era, so that we can contribute to the welfare of people, not only by protecting them but also by supporting consumers and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that increasingly depend on small parcels.”

The UPU and WCO have worked in close cooperation to ensure the smooth transit of postal items across borders since the WCO’s founding nearly 70 years ago. This has included regular dialogue between Posts and Customs through the WCO-UPU Contact Committee established in 1965.  

As part of the renewed cooperation, the two organizations committed to hosting the first-ever joint WCO-UPU Global Conference in early Summer 2023. This conference will bring together policy and decision-makers with Customs and Posts to examine, among other topics, the post-Covid recovery, taking stock of lessons learned to provide insights on the challenges and opportunities for cross-border e-commerce and the global supply chain.

Within the context of increasing cross-border postal volumes due to e-commerce and in order to meet evolving customer expectations, the new agreement will enable UPU and WCO to work more closely on a number of cross-cutting issues, including digitalization and data exchange, security, regulatory requirements and trade facilitation. The partnership will also make way for joint efforts on capacity building across the supply chain to ensure the smooth transit of postal items as e-commerce volumes continue to rise. 

As intergovernmental organizations and considering the UPU’s status as a UN specialized agency, UPU and WCO will also work together to facilitate work on the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030.