International Customs Day – 26 January

International Customs Day – 26 January

International Customs Day (ICD) is observed on 26th January to recognize the role of customs in maintaining border security. It is being observed to create a safe business environment because importing/ exporting illegal ways shall pose a threat not only to the country’s economy but also to good governance, development, and human security.

The primary objective of observing International Customs Day is to recall their significant role in customs administration around the globe. This day is about recognizing the challenges of customs workers and appreciating their contribution to managing goods inflow and outflow. World Customs Day is observed around the world annually.

Every year there is a theme for International Customs Day chosen. The theme for International Customs Day 2024 is “Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners with Purpose.”


In 1952, the Convention formally establishing the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) came into force. The 26th of January is the day on which the Customs Cooperation Council, the official name of the World Customs Organization (WCO), held its first meeting in 1953. The inaugural session of the CCC Council was held in Brussels, Belgium on 26 January in the presence of representatives from seventeen European countries. The Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was renamed as World Customs Organization (WCO) in 1994 and currently, it comprises 183 member states from all parts of the world. The name was changed reflect to more clearly its transition to a truly global intergovernmental institution.

It is now celebrated as a World Customs Organization, International Customs Day, where the global Customs community comes together with a selected theme to act upon. International Customs Day (ICD) recognizes the role of customs officials and agencies in maintaining border security. It is a recognition of the mission of WCO members to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations around the world.

What is Custom Duty

Customs duties are taxes or fees that are paid to the government when goods come into or go out of a country. Countries around the world levy customs duties on the import/export of goods as a means to raise revenue and/or shield domestic institutions from predatory or efficient competitors from other countries. Customs refers also to the place where one country meets another country, and it refers to the place where information on incoming/ outgoing goods and services is kept.

Indian Customs does not just protect our economy; it also plays an important role in protecting the environment, wildlife and heritage by checking smuggling and trafficking of endangered species of flora and fauna, art, and antiques. Customs also play their part in preventing the movement of fake Indian currency notes. The primary functions of Customs include levy and collection of customs duties, prevention of smuggling, combating tax evasion, and enforcement of border controls.

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How the day is observed

The Customs Department host several activities next week to raise awareness about the work of the Department. Custom agencies hold employee appreciation events where custom officers are recognized for their exemplary service. Workshops, conferences, and talks that focus on the year’s theme and the challenges that agencies and officers face are also held. This occasion provides us an opportunity to salute and remember the contribution of all past and serving officers who put the nation first while discharging their duty.

Several agencies also hold public outreach events where they educate the public about their jobs and responsibilities. Learn more about the World Customs Organization and the 182 countries that are members. Share the day on social media with the hashtag #InternationalCustomsDay.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.