Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research
COVID Vaccines – Customs/Cross-border Movement/Regulations
The WCO Secretariat Note on the cross-border movement of vaccines enhanced with further guidance and good practices
World Customs Organization – WCO
28 May 2021
The World Customs Organization (WCO) published the 2nd edition of the Secretariat Note on the Role of Customs in facilitating and securing the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines that enhances the inaugural version launched on 25 February 2021.
WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stated, “How to achieve equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is critical, and Customs administrations around the world should support global efforts by not only facilitating the cross-border movement of the vaccines themselves, but also by speeding up and facilitating the Customs clearance of the raw materials and components used in the vaccine manufacturing process.” He added that “This will greatly contribute to the efforts to scale up vaccine manufacturing and the 2nd edition of the Secretariat Note highlights the critical role Customs”.
The document contains further guidance on practical ways to implement the measures of the December 2020 Resolution of the Customs Co-operation Council on the Role of Customs in facilitating the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines, a greater number of Members’ case studies, and operational guidelines developed for the WCO Membership by the Australian Border Force.
The guidance outlined in the Secretariat Note draws upon relevant WCO instruments and tools, Members’ good practices and insights gathered as a result of the collaboration with other international organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, logistics providers and other relevant private sector entities.
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 and the industry gain experience and share information with the WCO Secretariat on the Customs clearance of COVID-19 vaccines, related supplies, inputs and equipment.
[Excerpt from 2nd edition of the Secretariat Note, page 6]
c. Practical ways to implement measure 10 of the Resolution are to:
:: Nominate contact points/enquiry points in Customs and other relevant government agencies to exchange information in a timely manner and respond to requests by supply chain stakeholders.
:: Establish a task force with the participation of all relevant government agencies, including Customs, as well as relevant private sector representatives.
:: Coordinate through the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).
:: Engage with all relevant government agencies and supply chain stakeholders to develop Standard Operating Procedures for the exportation and importation of situationally critical medicines, vaccines and related supplies, inputs and equipment.
:: Perform all border clearance procedures through a Single Window facility.
:: Cooperate with health authorities and supply chain stakeholders to provide training to operational Customs staff.