The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have jointly updated the HS Classification Reference for COVID-19 Medical Supplies to “respond to the unprecedented demand in medical supplies amid the current global COVID-19 pandemic around the world,” and help speed up the cross-border movement of these critical products.
The updated HS Classification Reference for COVID-19 Medical Supplies now has 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, WCO said in a statement on April 9.
The first edition of the 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 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,” said the statement.
“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.”
The updated list is provided as an indicative list only and has no legal status, meant only to to facilitate the classification of COVID-19 medical supplies at the international level (6 digit of the HS).
“Economic operators are kindly advised to consult with the relevant Customs administrations in relation to classification at domestic levels (7 or more digits) or in the event of any discrepancy between their practices and this list,” advises WCO.