On 14 July 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced that in order to streamline the operation of global supply chains, and to facilitate the cross-border trade of COVID-19 medical supplies, the WCO has been actively working together with the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations under the pandemic.
The joint effort has made valuable inroads in various areas, which include, among others, development of guidance materials to facilitate the cross-border movement of critical medical supplies, including highlighting existing HS classification for critical medicines, vaccines and associated medical supplies necessary for their manufacture, distribution and use.
As an extension of this effort, the WCO has worked closely with the WTO to produce the Joint Indicative List of Critical COVID-19 Vaccine Inputs issued on 13 July 2021. The items on the list were determined through collaboration between the WTO, WCO, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), vaccine manufacturers and other organisations.
The WTO have undertaken the responsibility for publication of this list, to provide consolidated information on the critical inputs for manufacturing, storage, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines that have been produced by several organisations with a view to improving the monitoring and facilitation of cross-border movement of relevant products. The list contains the likely HS classifications under HS 2017 version for critical vaccine inputs, along with the description of each product, and the name of vaccines that use the product.
It was first compiled by the WTO Secretariat as a working document to facilitate discussions at the WTO COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain and Regulatory Transparency Symposium that took place on 29 June 2021. For the publication, the WCO has put huge effort into assessing the probable classifications and presenting these classifications and descriptions of the products on the list.
The list of COVID-19 vaccine inputs has been widely requested by the trade and pharmaceutical community as well as governments and will assist in identifying and monitoring the cross-border movement of the critical vaccine inputs, and eventually contributing to ending the pandemic and safeguarding public health.
The list covers 83 critical vaccine inputs, which include mRNA nucleic acid-based vaccines as active ingredients, various inactive and other ingredients, consumables, equipment, packaging and other associated products, with their likely 6-digit HS code. Economic operators are kindly advised to consult with the relevant Customs administrations in relation to classification at domestic levels (7 or more digits) or in the event of any discrepancy between their practices and this list.
The Joint Indicative List of Critical COVID-19 Vaccine Inputs is accessible at:
Story by: Riaan de Lange