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Customs & Trade

WCO Data Model

Norms and standards are essential for trade facilitation and for modernizing customs procedures. As international trade involves a plethora of global stakeholders, from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the exchange of quick and effective trade-related data is a vital necessity. For this reason, a common data model is key to achieving efficient data interchange between systems in an automated environment.

Promoting and implementing such standards are among the main aims of the ASYCUDA Programme. ASYCUDA participates in various working groups, collaborating with organizations working on standardization, and is particularly involved with the World Customs Organization (WCO) working group on the data model.

The main objective of the WCO data model is to define a set of standardized data usable by both customs administrations and trade operators, for electronic data exchange within the customs clearance process (manifest, declarations, etc.). The latest data model release is version 3.


A detailed description of the ASYCUDA database (including cargo manifest, BLA/AWB, customs declaration for import, export and suspense regimes) was submitted to WCO, which has concluded that the ASYCUDA system is compatible with the WCO data model. The new e-documents being developed by UNCTAD in ASYCUDA, e.g. the phytosanitary certificate, will be subjected to the same compliance mechanism.

The ASYCUDA system can communicate through XML messages with all systems that are compatible with the WCO data model.