« Working together for better customs systems »






A modern customs service: central to economic growth


Effective revenue management increases a country’s spending power for the public benefit, improves business compliance and trust, and helps keep taxes low


Improved trade facilitation promotes growth, business confidence and inwards investment.  It can be delivered through simpler procedures for customs declaration and transit;  selective, risk-based checking; and electronic declarations,


Better border enforcement protects society against  threats to public security and health (such as drugs), reduces crime and makes for a more productive society.




Our mission


The mission of Eurocustoms is to support the sustainable development of Customs administrations in our partner countries and improve their capacity and performance, by providing quality expertise and advice.


We aim to promote

  • good governance of partner customs administrations

  • legislation and procedures compatible with those of the EU

  • customs control and techniques in line with Kyoto Convention best practice


We work with partner countries who aspire to join the European Union, who want to deepen trade links with it, or who are the EU’s close neighbours.




Who are we?


Eurocustoms is a not-for-profit consortium of the EU Customs Administrations.  We were founded in 1991 by the EU Member States as a response to the growing need for technical assistance in Eastern Europe. The Member States - and those of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - provide customs staff on secondment to support our work as project managers or technical experts.  We are based in Paris, in offices provided by French Customs.


For legal and accounting reasons we are incorporated as a not-for-profit body under French law (the Association pour la Gestion d’Eurodouane), supervised by a Board chaired by the Director-General of French Customs.  EU member states set  Eurocustoms’ policy at the annual meeting of Directors-General.


We plan and manage projects from our Paris headquarters.  Through a network of correspondents we recruit actively employed customs officers from EU and EFTA states to carry out technical project activity.  Each is an expert in their field, with up-to-date practical or  operational management skills.  Our experts are often members of EU customs technical committees in Brussels.




How do we work?


We work through projects, mainly contracted to us direct by the EU Commission, or by partner countries using EU funds under decentralised procedures.  The main EU funding programmes we work with are for countries planning to join the EU, for eastern Europe and Central Asia, and for countries of North Africa and the Mediterranean.  The  EFTA Secretariat in Geneva has also participated in project funding.


Our methods include consultancy actions, training courses, workshops and seminars in partner countries, and study visits for project partners to our member countries.  We offer privileged access to public sector expertise and best practice of EU and EFTA countries.  Serving customs staff give peer-to-peer advice and recommendations on customs reform and modernisation:


  • customs law and procedures

  • organisation and management systems

  • revenue collection and enforcement,  and economic protection

  • trade facilitation and simpler procedures

  • integrated border management, protecting  against drugs, weapons and other threats to society

  • customs and law enforcement training strategy and design





The Eurocustoms approach to project design


Eurocustoms will work with project partners to plan, or contribute to, a comprehensive reform programme to modernise not only customs law and procedures, but also operational management and the wider corporate governance systems that underlie stable customs organisations and sustainable development.




Project planning:  a tailor-made approach


There is no ‘standard’ project.  Each is specially designed to suit the needs of the project partner. Some projects are multi-country in scope, addressing customs issues across a group of partner countries and encouraging a common approach and cross-border cooperation between them.  Some have a national focus;  others provide tools for future project work (like our drafting of ‘blueprints’ for customs organisations or our development of transit training modules). 


Within terms of reference drafted by the sponsor, Eurocustoms drafts project plans and costings for the partner’s approval, organises the implementation and prepares the periodic progress and final reports.  We speak a common customs language with our partners – peers talk to peers to identify project scope and solutions.  We are keen to be involved in early stages of scoping and planning modernisation programmes.  We are also able to evaluate the success of projects, both through evaluation meetings during the project lifetime and by later post-implementation review.


A project can last from three months to two years.  Projects are managed from Eurocustoms headquarters in Paris, by teams of project and programme managers on loan from member customs administrations.




Project implementation:  by experts in their field


Projects are delivered using from a variety of methods:

  • consultancy visits to study live problem areas, give practical advice and make recommendations.  Several consultancies on the same topic may be organised, interspersed by development work by the project partner

  • training courses in technical or management areas.  Where possible, we conduct train-the-trainer events to transfer techniques and knowledge to local experts who will themselves carry on the training work after our project is complete

  • practical workshops:  particularly useful as a diagnostic tool to discuss an identified problem area and identify solutions, or to trouble-shoot after the introduction of new customs rules or procedures

  • seminars and conferences, involving larger numbers of participants, and sometimes including businesses and trade associations as well as customs staff

  • study visits and attachments by managers and experts of the partner country, to see at first hand how a system operates in the customs service of an EU or EFTA country, and to discuss with opposite numbers in a practical environment


Project actions are led by short-term experts, chosen for their expertise from EU and EFTA customs services, and if appropriate from other law enforcement authorities.  They visit partner countries typically for a week at a time, but longer-term secondments can be arranged for in-depth implementation of changes to procedures or management systems. 


Complex programmes can also benefit from long-term resident advisers, coordinating project implementation with the partner administration under the guidance of the Paris-based project staff.


The usual project reporting language is English, but consultancies, training courses and other project actions in the field are conducted in other languages to suit the needs of participants (using an agreed language or through interpretation).




Expertise we can offer


Corporate Governance

  • stakeholder needs and relationships

  • strategic planning, targets and performance monitoring

  • organisational structure

  • leadership and communication

  • change management

  • resource management systems

  • accountability and internal control

  • information for the trade and public

  • appeals and complaints


HR Systems

  • recruitment procedures

  • job design

  • performance management

  • training strategy and needs

  • pay and integrity


Modern control systems

  • risk analysis and selectivity in  documentary and physical checks

  • supply chain security

  • post-clearance audit-based controls

  • intelligence collection and dissemination

  • automation of declarations and processes


Customs controls and procedures

  • legislative reform based on the EU Customs Code  and WTO rules

  • modernisation of procedures, based  on international best practice, eg:

    • tariff and classification

    • valuation

    • origin and preference

    • warehousing and free zones

    • process under customs control

    • transit systems

    • intellectual property and counterfeiting

    • plant and animal health

    • declaration for import, processing, transit  and export

    • guarantees


Anti-smuggling and enforcement:

  • profiling of risk traffic

  • rummage and physical inspection

  • passenger control systems

  • drug detection and weapons

  • training of detector dogs and handlers

  • inter-agency and cross-border cooperation

  • international mutual assistance

  • investigation techniques