International Customs Day: History, Significance, Meaning

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2022, 12:23

Every year, International Customs Day is celebrated around the world as a recognition of the role and contribution of customs agencies and officials. It also aims to focus on the challenges and working conditions of customs officers. The primary objective of observing this occasion is to recall their significant role in customs administration around the globe.

The International Customs Day is observed on January 26 every year by customs organizations in different countries. They host appreciation events, workshops, speeches and seminars on this occasion. In 2022, the theme chosen for the day was to scale up digital transformation in customs by adopting a data culture and creating an ecosystem of data.

International Customs Day – What It Means?

The International Customs Day (ICD) is celebrated to commemorate the inauguration of the Customs Cooperation Council that took place on January 26th, 1953. The ICD was created in 1983 by the CCC to celebrate 30 years of its first session. The CCC was renamed as WCO (World Customs Organization) in 1994.

Since its establishment, WCO has remained the only international body solely dedicated to customs administration and border control. It has its headquarters in Brussels in Belgium and has 182 members from across the world, 75% of which come from developing nations. WCO helps improve the efficiency of custom processes. It works on the belief that ‘Where borders divide, customs connect’.

The WCO works for the mission of providing guidance and support to custom agencies and officials. It believes customs help meet the social, economic, and environmental needs of the globe, contributing to developing a sustainable future. It also takes measures to boost the expansion of lawful commerce on a global scale. This year, the International Customs Day theme stresses the significance of the B2B approach.

Customs agencies are responsible for streamlining the flow of goods between countries. Customs entities play a crucial role in global commerce development. International Customs Day is the perfect occasion to realize the importance of customs officials and agencies in the smooth management of world trade. It also lets the members of the WCO showcase their efforts and achievements.

With customs agencies playing an increasingly critical role in global trade, especially at times like the present, with massive supply-chain disruptions owing to the pandemic.

The International Customs Day represents a great way to recognize this often unseen facet of trade, the people that work in them, their lifestyles, challenges, and more.

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FAQs About International Customs Day

  • Why do we celebrate International Customs Day?

The world celebrates International Customs Day as the anniversary of the first session of the WCO (World Customs Organization). It is observed as a way to spread awareness about the role of customs authorities in smooth goods movement across borders.

  • What was the subject of International Customs Day in 2021?

The subject of the 2021 International Customs Day was ‘Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal & Resilience’.

  • What was the International Customs Day theme for the year 2020?

In 2020, International Customs Day was celebrated on the subject of ‘Customs fostering sustainability for people, prosperity and the plant’.

  • What is WCO?

WCO stands for World Customs Organization which was formed as the Customs Cooperation Council in 1952 to make customs administration more efficient and effective across the world.

  • How many members does WCO have?

WCO has 183 members from across the world.