World Customs Organization – Customs and Industry discuss the future of non-intrusive inspections
The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
Today, the WCO represents 183 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.
The 6th Meeting of the Technical Experts Group on Non-Intrusive Inspection (TEG-NII) was held on 13-14 November 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The meeting brought together close to 100 participants from Member Customs administrations and NII Industry members. The TEG-NII discussions were centered around two main topics – the Unified File Format (UFF) Development Programme and other NII-related matters.
Decision Sciences were invited to attend this large technical discussion panel to present their Discovery – A Multi Mode Passive detection System.
In her opening remarks, the WCO Director Compliance and Facilitation, Ms. Ana B. Hinojosa, highlighted the role of NII in ensuring the safety and security of the society, as well as for facilitating legitimate trade. The Director highlighted the successful completion of Phase 2 of the UFF Development Programme as an important achievement for the global Customs community in the year which the WCO has devoted to the theme “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”.
During the first day of the Meeting, dedicated to the UFF Development Programme, the TEG-NII took note of the intersessional developments since the 5th TEG-NII Meeting held in June 2019 and discussed how to streamline the future UFF-related work in the best possible manner. These discussions covered questions related to the deployment of UFF 2.0 by interested WCO Members and the scope and implementation modalities of Phase 3 of the UFF Development Programme. The TEG-NII established two virtual groups to look at options for the management and maintenance of the UFF and at technical matters related to the UFF architecture and the Phase 3 technical goals.
The second day of the meeting started with a panel discussion on Human resource development and governance issues to optimise the use of NII equipment with panelists from the Customs administrations of Botswana, Spain and New Zealand. Innovation in NII was another important topic on the agenda of the 6th TEG-NII Meeting. The Group examined again the topic of automated threat recognition and a proposal to look into the feasibility of harmonizing and standardizing threat detection algorithms.
The TEG-NII approved an update of the WCO Guidelines for the Procurement and Deployment of Scanning/NII Equipment (NII Guidelines) taking into account comments and suggestions made by Members prior to and during the Meeting. The updated NII Guidelines will be submitted to the 23rd SAFE Working Group Meeting for endorsement.
The discussions on Day 1 and Day 2 of the meeting were supported by highly informative presentations delivered by the Customs administrations of Latvia, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, as well as by a number of NII vendors.
Decision Sciences has now been invited to join the TEG-NII as a contributor, recognizing the changing world of NII. Previously only X-ray manufacturers were admitted to this group.