The World Customs Organization (WCO, Organization Mondiale des Dounaes, OMD) is an intergovernmental organisation that was founded as European Customs Co-Operation Council in 1952 in Brussels/Belgium. It governs all Customs co-operation matters from tariff nomenclature, over universal Customs procedures, capacity building and integrity to trade facilitation. The WCO-Membership has risen in different velocities up to an overall membership of 182 contracting parties in 2017. This paper gives an overview of its history and legal milestones in an update of 70 years of history of Customs co-operation and 65 years of the Customs Co-Operation Council in Europe and the World. It investigates the WCO history by help of WCO publications on its history, the accessions over 65 years and its list of legally binding instruments. The membership rise is investigated by help of a five year spaced membership accession overview. The ten most successful legally binding instruments are identified and ranked according to the amount of membership: the three most successful instruments are identified as the Harmonized System Convention, the Revised Kyoto Convention and the Istanbul Convention. In an annual overview the important historic developments of the WCO over the last 65 years are presented. The paper concludes that the membership has reached a mature phase and that the rise of membership in the legal instruments is still strong. A current development is that newly emerging states are also quickly receiving membership status (South Sudan, Palestine, Kosovo, all of which are not WTO Members). In contrast to the WTO membership (which has risen to 164 contracting parties) some states and economic territories which have previously had an independent status may have a different WCO membership status (Liechtenstein: WTO + / WCO -, Taiwan/Chinese Taipei: WTO + / WCO -, Hong Kong & Macao: WTO + / WCO +, Saint Kitts and Nevis: WTO + / WCO -, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: WTO + / WCO -, Solomon Islands: WTO + / WCO -, Suriname: WTO + / WCO -).
WTO GATT WCO Economic History Customs Law Economic Integration