International Customs Day 2024: History, Theme, and Significance

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International Customs Day 2024

The International Customs Day is celebrated every year on 26 January. It is observed at the global level to highlight and honour the role played by customs authorities in the smooth movement of large goods across borders. Additionally, the day also raises awareness about the importance of customs officials in conducting and managing cross-border activities with utmost care.

Name of the event International Customs Day
Observed on26 January 
Established in year1953
Aim To acknowledge and raise awareness about the importance of customs authorities in moving goods across borders. 

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International Customs Day History

Before diving deep into this topic, let us first explore the history of this day and how it all began. 

  • The origins date back to the year 1948 when the European Customs Union Study Group (E.C.U.S.G.) was established by the Committee for European Economic Cooperation.
  • The motive behind this was to investigate the possibility of establishing and maintaining inter-European customs unions.
  • It was followed by the establishment of the  Customs Cooperation Council (C.C.C.) in 1952 for effective customs administration across the globe.
  • The first session of the CCC was held on January 26, 1953, with 17 of its founding members. 
  • Later on, it was renamed the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  • It later established International Customs Day which was conducted and celebrated for the first time on January 26, 1983, in Brussels, Belgium. 

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International Customs Day Theme 2024 

Interestingly, the theme for International Customs Day is decided by the WCO and changes every year. This year, the theme “Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners with Purpose” has been decided. 

Similarly, the theme for the previous year of 2023 was “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs.” 

International Customs Day
Source: European Union 

How to Celebrate International Customs Day?

  • Learn about the: You can take time to understand the role and importance of customs in effective international trade. For this, you can read books, articles, or watch documentaries.
  • Spread awareness: Once you have gained knowledge about Customs Day and its importance in our society, you can then move on to spreading awareness about the same. Urge your friends and family to broaden their horizons.
  • Active participation: Another way to celebrate the day is to attend events, seminars, workshops, and exhibitions.
  • Be kind to officers: The best way to observe and partake in the celebrations of International Customs Day is to appreciate and thank customs officers for their dedication and hardwork. This will not only boost their morale but also uplift their mood.  


Do you also wonder why we observe Customs Day globally or what is its significance? Well, here is your answer:

  • The day highlights the role of customs officials in facilitating global trade while adhering to safety and security.
  • It provides people with an opportunity to not only recognize the efforts and achievements of customs officials but also celebrate them.
  • The day serves as a reminder for people to be patient and kind towards customs agents who tirelessly work day and night. 
  • As custom agencies are becoming more and more important, especially amidst the continuously challenging environment, the day reminds us of the hardwork that goes behind it.
  • The observance of ICD further strengthens the ideals of WCO which believes that customs can build connections between nations. 

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5 Quotes on International Customs Day

Here are five important quotes on this day:

“Beyond inspections and declarations, customs connects cultures and builds bridges of understanding.”

– Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization

“Customs are the front door to a nation’s heart.”

– William B. Tate, Former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

“A silent handshake across borders, customs officers facilitate the global market’s heartbeat.”

– Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

“From ancient caravans to modern shipping containers, customs officers have always been guardians of trade and travel.”

– Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

“With every stamp and every cleared line, customs officers weave a tapestry of global connection.”

– Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

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What is the theme for International Customs Day 2023?

The theme for International Customs Day 2023 was Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs. It was made official by the Secretary General of the WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya who announced it on the official website. 

What is International Customs Day on 26 January 2024?

The International Customs Day is celebrated on January 26. This day raises awareness about the essential contribution of custom agencies in making sure that everything goes smoothly. Moreover, the day also honours customs officials who work in challenging work conditions to make the flow of goods across borders an easy task. 

When was International Customs Day first celebrated?

The first Global Customs Day was celebrated in 1983. It all began after the WCO held the inaugural session to celebrate its 30 years. Thereafter, the International Customs Day was celebrated first in 1983 in Brussels, Belgium. 

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