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The updated 2023 version of the STCE Implementation Guide is available

22 February 2024
By the WCO Secretariat

A new version of the WCO Strategic Trade Control Enforcement Implementation Guide was published in December 2023. Annex I, which provides a list of countries and the non-proliferation and trade control regimes they have committed to, has been updated. The same applies to Annex III – strategic commodities listed in this Annex have been aligned on the 2022 edition of the Harmonized System, and new commodities have been added. Last but not least, post-clearance audit (PCA) and STCE Investigations are now addressed in dedicated new Annexes. The new version of the guide is currently available in English only, with other language versions to be published throughout 2024.

The Guide was developed in response to Customs administrations’ requests for practical assistance with the development or review of their Strategic Trade Control Enforcement processes and procedures. It is divided into two main sections. The first section, intended for senior Customs managers and policy officials, explains the importance of strategic trade controls and the role Customs plays in this area, and elucidates how to establish STCE procedures and processes and create the conditions needed for their success. The second section is for officers in charge of carrying out controls, exploring techniques to be used, outlining major activities such as establishing outreach programmes and conducting verification and commodity identification, as well as several related functions that fall to Customs and other government agencies.

A series of Annexes provide additional information, as follows:

  • Annex I is a table summarizing the status of WCO Members, as at June 2023, with respect to non-proliferation and trade control commitments;
  • Annex II provides short overviews of the development processes for various Weapons of Mass Destruction, and identifies the related strategic goods used in those processes;
  • Annex III describes, in detail, a selection of strategic commodities in relevant Chapters of the Harmonized System;
  • Annex IV contains definitions, good practices and case studies concerning ways to conduct various aspects of industry outreach, with a focus on the role of Customs specifically, to ensure that businesses that conduct international trade are aware of their strategic trade control responsibilities and are compliant with the applicable legal requirements;
  • Annex V looks at post-clearance audit and explains how to adapt a PCA capability to address strategic goods considerations, as well as how to prepare and conduct audits;
  • Annex VI focuses on the steps that Customs need to take in order to investigate a suspected violation, and also provides information on investigative techniques, case management principles, chain of custody preservation, and the unique challenges specific to investigating STCE cases;
  • Annex VII contains a concise list of strategic chemicals by Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number;
  • Annex VIII provides a guide to the HS codes applicable to chemical-weapons related chemicals;
  • Annex IX gives UN Hazard Numbers associated with strategic goods;
  • Annex X contains a Glossary of terms;
  • Annex XI provides an alphabetical index.

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