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WCO Secretariat launches the COVID-19 Project

20 October 2020

WCO Secretariat has launched a COVID-19 Project to assist Customs administrations in dealing with unpredictable and disruptive events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the Government of Japan, which is providing financial support for the project, the Secretariat aims to develop guidelines, based on various scenarios, which Customs should follow to ensure effective and efficient disaster management and supply chain continuity.

A preliminary draft of the Guidelines was developed based on best practices received from Customs administrations and other stakeholders such as the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG). The draft was discussed at the Permanent Technical Committee’s 229/230th sessions in September and October 2020. To stimulate discussions and collect more information, three regional workshops (virtual or physical) will be organized from November 2020 to February 2021.

The guidelines are expected to be completed by March 2021 and submitted to the PTC at its 231st/232nd sessions for endorsement. If the PTC endorse the guidelines, they will be submitted for adoption by the WCO Council at its June 2021 Sessions.

Customs administrations in developing countries will be able to request tailor-made assistance for implementing the guidelines with priority being given to least developed countries (LDCs) expressing an urgent need. Either virtual or in-person training will be rolled out based on each country’s situation and specific requirements. When delivering assistance at national levels, the WCO will collaborate closely with partner organizations such as the United Nations (UN) agencies involved in the field of humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

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