11 June 2021


On 7 June, a new Administrative Cooperation Arrangement was signed between the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Ville Itälä, to strengthen the collaboration between the two bodies. The agreement widens a previous agreement from 2003 and focuses on both operational cooperation and information sharing. The 2003 arrangement between the WCO and OLAF covered only the exchange of information on tobacco seizures, while the new agreement will see the exchange of information expanded to cover a wider range of fraudulent activity (counterfeiting, illicit trade in protected species, etc).

It will also help the two bodies to work more closely and effectively together on joint operations in the field. The respective members of the WCO and OLAF will now have access to non-personal data on a larger set of customs fraud cases shared by their counterparts in the EU Member States. This significantly simplifies the sharing of information among customs administrations as it will now be automatically replicated in their different databases and IT systems.

WCO and OLAF frequently cooperate at the operational level, most recently in WCO-led operations against illegal trafficking linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and illegal shipments of waste or others coordinated by OLAF on counterfeit hygiene products and car parts.

Source: World Customs Organization