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Chemists from Member Customs Laboratories meet at the WCO Headquarters

21 enero 2016

The 31th Session of the Scientific Sub-Committee (SSC) was held from 12 to 15 January 2016 and was attended by Customs laboratory staff from 37 WCO Member countries and the European Union (EU).  The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also participated in the meeting. The Sub-Committee examined the Harmonized System (HS) classification of around 200 new pharmaceutical substances with a generic name, so-called INNs (International Nonproprietary Names), scrutinized the possible amendments to the Nomenclature in respect of dual use items, substances controlled by the Chemical Weapons Convention and ozone-depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol, and provided replies to several questions in technical areas, such as chemistry, biology and biochemistry, raised by the HS Committee and the HS Review Sub-Committee.

The 2017 Edition of the HS will enter into force on 1 January 2017.  In order to anticipate the changes arising from the new edition of the HS, the SSC tackled the reclassification of several INNs as well as the consequential amendments to the HS Explanatory Notes in the area of the chemical or allied industries, which will also be effective as of 1 January 2017.

Furthermore, the SSC considered the impact of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on Customs laboratory matters, the importance of cooperation and networking between Customs laboratories.  In that connection, the Delegates of Japan and the EU delivered presentations in order to illustrate regional cooperation and networking among Customs laboratories in the WCO Asia and Pacific region and the activities conducted by the Customs Laboratories European Network (CLEN) in the area of sampling (the SAMANCTA Project), respectively. The Chairperson of the SSC and the Secretariat encouraged the laboratories to further strengthen the cooperation at regional and world level. Finally, the modernization of the Customs Laboratory Guide was also discussed by the Sub-Committee.