Sergei Mozer

Sergei MozerPh.D. at law

Deputy Head of Division of Advanced Customs Technologies, Department of Customs Legislation of the Eurasian Economic CommissionContact Person for Communication with the World Customs Organization.

Senior Researcher in the Research Institute of the Russian Customs Academy.




Published: Green Channel. — № 4 (10) (November). — 2019. — pages 15-32. © S.V. Mozer, 2019

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Abstract. The presented article reveals the current issues of the development of the digital customs institution in the WCO. Based on a study of the working materials of the 2015 WCO Policy Commission, the author classifies proposals and visions for the creation of digital customs. This classification is recommended as groundwork for the subsequent creation of the theoretical foundations of the analyzed institution of customs law. The classification given in the article of topical issues of digital customs formation, as well as corresponding explanations, are a matter of interest to the work currently underway at the Eurasian Economic Commission to create a legal concept for digital customs in Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Member states.

Keywords: The World Customs Organization, the WCO, the Eurasian Economic Union, EEU, the Eurasian Economic Commission, EEC, WCO Policy Commission,  e-Customs, digital Customs,  customs regulation, customs administration, international customs law, customs.

Today there are no fundamental theoretical studies that formalize, disclose, characterize the institution of electronic or digital customs in the framework of customs regulation in the theory of international, administrative and customs law. In order to organize the work of the Eurasian Economic Commission Expert Group on the Preparation of the Initial Document «On the development of approaches to the formation of digital customs», we have studied a significant array of scientific publications on the development of the electronic customs institution. If we take the Russian segment of science in the field of customs, then, as a rule, such studies are carried out in the fairway of the normative regulation of the Federal Customs Service, and the conclusions and recommendations, with rare exceptions, do not appeal to the foreign experience of customs administration or the legal instruments and tools of the World Customs Organization in this area. In turn, the scientific developments of the digital customs institute are practically absent.

 We do not argue categorically that external approaches and proposals for the development of the institution of electronic or digital customs are necessarily ideal. We proceed from the thesis that for the formation and modernization of this institution, it is necessary to refer to the existing variety of legal instruments, approaches, opinions, positions, options that are offered by the international customs community in the analyzed area. And with this in mind a man can form own standard, model, including a regional model, concept, program of measures for the development of the institute of digital or electronic customs. It should be emphasized that the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (hereinafter — the EEU), as part of the improvement of customs administration, are developing the institution of electronic customs, but not digital. Other things do not follow from the analysis of regulatory legal acts of the Customs Administrations of our countries, the working materials of the EEC, as well as analytics in the media.

Despite this circumstance, at the expert level, there is an understanding that electronic customs is an evolutionary stage preceding digital customs, smart customs. Moreover, each of the stages is characterized by a set of features, characteristics, decisions — legal, organizational, technical, technological. In this context, a number of questions arise. For example, in the Strategy for the Development of Russian Customs until 2030, should we talk about «electronic» or «digital customs»? It may be convenient not to notice the separation of the mentioned evolutionary stages and to put forward the thesis that electronic and digital customs are one and the same phenomenon. For otherwise, serious work will be required to introduce appropriate changes, at least at the regulatory level. And, maybe, that the «play of words» is simply not costly, despite the fact that back in 2014 еhe World Customs Organization (hereinafter referred to as the WCO) raised the issue of creating a digital customs institution.[1] In our opinion, most of the issues could be resolved if there were fundamental theoretical developments, a theory of law, where the legal institute of electronic and digital customs is considered. Unfortunately, such complex theoretical and practical studies are absent with some exceptions.[2]

These circumstances determine the relevance of this article.

In a previously published research material[3] we have classified topical issues of the Digital Customs Institute in the WCO. We need to remind that the issues raised to improve customs regulation were considered at the level of the WCO Policy Commission (hereinafter — PC) on December 7- 9, 2015 in Punta Cana (74th meeting). The mentioned classification is a group formed by the author (21 points) of opinions, approaches, and visions of high-level experts at a PC meeting on specific topics as part of a study of the formation of a digital customs institution in the WCO Member States. Among them are the problems of the conceptual apparatus, the digitalization of customs, as a result of the digital revolution, as a phenomenon and process; customs and digital customs; practical aspects of the implementation of the digital customs institute; management mechanism, customs administration in the context of the development of digital customs; Customs operations (business processes) within the framework of digital customs; risk management system (RMS) and digital customs; subject composition of legal relations within the framework of digital customs, etc.


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Russian Customs Academy: Science





[1] See Mozer Sergei. Improvement of customs regulation: on the strategic concept of digital customs of the World Customs Organization // Gaps in Russian legislation. – № 4. – 2019. URL: (date of the request: 29.06.2019).  

[2] См. Mozer Sergei. Digital Customs. WCO Experience: monograph /S.V. Mozer. Moscow: Publishing House of the Russian Customs Academy, 2019. URL: (дата обращения: 24.06.2019). 

[3] See Mozer Sergei. Classification of topical issues of the digital customs institution at the World Customs Organization // Social and political sciences. – № 3 (June). – 2019. URL:  (date of the request: 29.06.2018).