On 25 February the World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretariat published a new Secretariat Note providing guidance with regard to the implementation by Members of the twelve measures outlined in the December 2020 Council Resolution on the Role of Customs in facilitating the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines.
The Secretariat Note also provides information on WCO instruments and tools that can support the implementation of the Resolution and contains examples of Members’ practices in that regard.
The publishing of the Secretariat Note comes less than a week after the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partnership welcomed over USD 4.3 billion of new investments from G7 leaders to fund the development and equitable rollout of the tests, treatments and vaccines needed to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and only a day after the world witnessed the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa via the COVAX Facility, which is the procurement mechanism for the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator (COVAX).
The Secretariat Note is designed to be a living document that will be enhanced with more Members’ practices and further practical guidance as WCO Members gain experience and share information with the WCO Secretariat on the Customs clearance of COVID-19 vaccines, related supplies and equipment. The Secretariat Note was developed following the guidance provided to the Secretariat by the Chairperson of the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) and the first edition of the note will be presented to the 231st/232nd Sessions of the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) that will start on 19 April.
A copy of the WCO’s Secretariat Note is available on request.
Story by: Riaan de Lange