20 April 2020
Members of the ‘Private Sector Consultative Group’ of the World Customs Organisation presented a series of recommendations last week to facilitate cross-border movement of goods. These call upon the organisation and its member governments to expedite the clearance of essential goods and workers to support and maintain essential services. This includes last mile transportation to the final destination. The group also proposed that a list of essential goods, including medical devices, supplies and equipment, be identified by WCO and the World Health Organisation to facilitate relief shipments around the world, suspending licensing requirements and considering full tariff relief for these items to expedite their clearance. The consultative group also recommended applying principles of ‘social distancing’ to border processes, striving for efficiencies and simplification for all clearances and providing support for business resumption and recovery. The latter could take the form of waivers, reductions or deferments of customs duties, taxes and fees as well as financial relief measures. You can read the full set of recommendations here. Meanwhile the Secretaries-General of the WCO and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) issued a joint statement, urging customs administrations and port state authorities to establish a coordinated and proactive approach to ensure the integrity and continued facilitation of the global supply chain to that the flow of goods by sea is not unnecessarily disrupted. The WCO Private Sector Consultative Group is composed of international industry organisations, including those representing exporters and importers, chambers of commerce, customs brokers, freight forwarders, ship agents and brokers, air carriers and road hauliers, as well as a number of individual companies such as GS1, Huawei, IBM, Michelin, Microsoft and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.