WCO and GS1 Cooperation Agreement

4 September 2012 - GS1 and WCO sign a cooperation agreement aimed at exploring ways to optimize the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.


The WCO and GS1 have agreed to maintain a continuous working relationship on all Customs related matters, particularly by leveraging the use of WCO tools and GS1 identification standards, as part of international efforts to tackle the illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

The Interface Public-Members (IPM) tool was launched by the WCO in 2010 to enhance communication between Customs and rights holders, facilitate the sharing of information, and strengthen the capacity of Customs officials to better combat counterfeiting and piracy.

GS1 standards enable the unique and unambiguous identification of items which leads to reduced costs and increased security, both vital benefits for Customs and business in the 21st century international trading environment.

"Faced by the growing trade in counterfeit goods, the WCO and its Members are determined to work with GS1 and other concerned organizations to fight this menace in order to protect the health and safety of consumers across the globe," said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya.

Secretary General Mikuriya added, “This cooperation agreement with GS1 not only enables the WCO to enhance IPM, as well as continue strengthening Customs’ capacity, it is also proof of the usefulness of this WCO anti-counterfeiting and piracy tool to our private sector partners.”

“With the GS1 System of Standards and our overall expertise in supply chain management, GS1 can help Customs agencies improve their capacity to detect counterfeit products,” said GS1 President and CEO, Miguel Lopera “By leveraging the GS1 Barcode, all brand owners, not only for luxury goods but also for consumer and healthcare products, will have the opportunity to work with Customs to protect their brand, consumers and patients alike.”

Through the cooperation agreement, the WCO and GS1 aim to achieve the following common objectives:

  • Identify potential joint projects and concrete measures to promote and facilitate the use of GS1 global identification and traceability standards in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy by Customs and other law enforcement agencies.
  • Design, implement and deploy a new IPM functionality based on GS1 Identification Numbers that will enable counterfeit products to be identified, including identification using mobile devices.
  • Conduct a two-year pilot, with the cooperation of interested WCO Members, on the use of GS1 identification standards by Customs and other law enforcement agencies to capture coded data, including via mobile devices, in order to help identify potential counterfeits.

GS1 and the WCO have a long-standing relationship and have cooperated on a number of mutually beneficial Customs related issues, underpinned by the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the two organizations in November 2007.