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Chemists from Member Customs Laboratories meet at the WCO Headquarters

25 enero 2017

The 32nd Session of the Scientific Sub-Committee (SSC) was held from 17 to 20 January 2017 and was attended by Customs laboratory staff from 33 WCO Member countries and the European Union (EU).  The World Health Organization (WHO), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) 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 (HS 2022 edition) in respect of substances controlled by the Chemical Weapons Convention and provided replies to several questions in technical areas, such as chemistry, biology and biochemistry, raised by WCO Members, the HS Committee and the HS Review Sub-Committee.

The 2017 Edition of the HS entered into force on 1 January 2017.  In order to reflect the changes arising from the new edition of the HS, the SSC tackled the reclassification of certain INNs as well as the consequential amendments to the HS Explanatory Notes in the area of the chemical or allied industries.

Moreover, the SSC considered the importance of cooperation and networking between Customs laboratories and the role that the Customs laboratories could play in the protection of the national mineral resources.  In that connection, the Delegate of Japan made a presentation in order to illustrate the regional cooperation and networking among Customs laboratories in the WCO Asia-Pacific region.  The Chairperson of the SSC and the Secretariat encouraged the laboratories to further strengthen the cooperation at regional and world level.

Furthermore, the Delegate of Thailand made a presentation on analysis of the water absorption coefficient in ceramic tiles; the Observer from the OPCW explained the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed, on 13 January 2017, by the WCO and the OPCW, with the aim of tightening national and international controls of the trade in toxic chemicals relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Observer of the BIPM made a presentation on the work of his organization.

Finally, the modernization and updating of the Customs Laboratory Guide was also discussed by the Sub-Committee.