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Joint WCO/WHO HS classification list for COVID-19 medical supplies issued

To respond to the unprecedented demand in medical supplies amid the current global COVID-19 pandemic around the world, and in order to help countries speed up the cross-border movement of these critical products,  the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) joined hands to strengthen their cooperation by establishing a coordinated approach in their response to the pandemic.  

As a result of this joint effort of the two organizations, the HS Classification Reference for COVID-19 Medical Supplies was updated, in a more structured and user-friendly format, to reflect more of the products that would be required in the professional opinion and experience of the WHO in public health . The first HS classification reference for COVID-19 medical supplies, published by the WCO at the dedicated section of its website two weeks ago, was an initial response of the Secretariat to help countries in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.  The initial list contained the classification of essential products needed such as COVID-19 diagnostic test kits and masks, certain protective personal equipment and medical devices such as ventilators and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), consumables and disinfectant products that may be used for the prevention and treatment of the disease.  The latest edition expands this list to cover a greater range of medical equipment and supplies that are required as critical items by the WHO, such as oxygen concentrators and sample collection sets.

The list of HS-coded medical supplies was widely appreciated by stakeholders and taken into consideration by governments when preparing their responses to secure and facilitate trade in these supplies. It serves as the basis for identifying the cross-border movement of the products needed during the pandemic, applying contingent tariff and non-tariff relief policies, monitoring and combating falsified supplies, and even for taking responsive actions to address shortages.

This Notice is available in its entirety on the World Customs Organization website.

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COVID-19 is a global challenge. Keeping our supply chains moving is important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of citizens and businesses. While the Canada - U.S. border is now closed to non-essential traffic, it is still open for trade and commerce. We are committed to doing our part for global supply chains.

We are protecting the health and safety of our employees. They are working from home, except for critical functions that require certain equipment or managing paper/courier flow. In those cases we are following social distancing guidelines.

We are open and available to assist you, and key players in your supply chains. Our dedicated staff are available 24/7 and our brokerage and logistics experts are available to help you make adjustments to your supply chain, if necessary.

We encourage you to check out the government programs available to families, businesses, exporters and importers. And, while respecting the need for social distancing we encourage everyone, including our staff, to reach out and remain connected to family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Stay safe.

Peter Willson
Chairman & CEO
Willson International

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