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WCO presents the role of the HS at the Green Customs initiative Workshop in Paraguay

30 agosto 2019

The WCO was invited by UN Environment (UNEP) to participate in a three-day training Workshop on illegal trade of goods regulated by international organizations which are partners to the Green Customs Initiative.  The Workshop, held in Asunción, Paraguay from 20 to 22 August 2019, was co-organized by UNEP and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Paraguay.  It was supported by the Green Customs Initiative, a unique partnership of international organizations and Secretariats of trade-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements aiming at enhancing the capacities of Customs authorities.

International illegal trade in environmentally sensitive commodities such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes, endangered species and living modified organisms is an international problem with serious consequences.  It directly threatens human health and the environment; contributes to species loss; results in revenue loss for governments; and undermines the success of international environmental agreements by circumventing agreed rules and procedures.

Aiming to address these challenges, 55 National Ozone Officers and Customs Officers from 16 Latin American countries participated at the Workshop.

The Workshop focused on practical cooperation to support compliance and combat illegal trade.  An officer from the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the WCO Secretariat gave presentations on the HS codes related to substances controlled under the Rotterdam, Stockholm, Basel and Minamata Conventions and on the Montreal Protocol as well as the future changes due to the 2022 Amendment to the Harmonized System.

The WCO representative also chaired panel discussions on the control of these substances in Free Zones and transhipments and on how to report substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.

The Workshop was opened by the National Director of Customs from Paraguay, Mr. Julio Fernandez Frutos and by the Director and Regional Representative of UN Environment, Mr. Leo Heileman, who emphasized the importance of cooperation between environmental and Customs authorities to prevent and fight illicit traffic in environmentally sensitive goods.