WCO Deputy Secretary General addresses the WTO Technical Symposium on COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and regulatory transparency

30 junio 2021

The Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ricardo Treviño, joined the Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ms. Anabel González and the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Mariângela Simão in the opening of the WTO Technical Symposium on COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and regulatory transparency that was held online on 29 June 2021.

The Technical Symposium was organized as a follow-up to the WTO event on COVID-19 and vaccine equity that was held on 14 April 2021 with the participation of the WCO Secretary General.

The 29 June 2021 follow-up event was aimed at contributing to improved public and policymaker understanding of the operation of global COVID-19 vaccine supply chains, the cross-border movement of vaccine inputs, and the need for greater regulatory transparency and convergence. The Technical Symposium was also aimed at mapping vaccine production and trade and discussing trade measures that support or constrain the achievement of the rapid scale-up of vaccine production and distribution.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Treviño outlined the various steps taken by the WCO and its Members in facilitating and securing the cross-border movement of medicines, vaccines and related supplies and equipment, including vaccine manufacturing inputs and components, in implementation of the December 2020 Council Resolution on the Role of Customs in facilitating the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines.

The WCO Deputy Secretary General highlighted the active engagement of the WCO with the WTO and pharmaceutical manufacturers aimed at the identification and facilitation of critical supplies for vaccine manufacturing. “We remain open to expanding our cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry and all relevant international organizations in order to better understand the supply chain of the vaccine manufacturing inputs and components and support our Members in facilitating the cross-border movement of these inputs and components.” concluded Mr. Treviño.

A similar openness to cooperation to support the scaling up of the manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and related medical goods was expressed by the WHO Assistant Director-General and the WTO Deputy Director-General.

The WCO also delivered a presentation in the symposium during session 3 that was devoted to the mapping of cross-border movement of vaccine inputs. This presentation highlighted the very practical work that the WCO was undertaking, within the COVAX Manufacturing Taskforce working group on “Free flow of goods”, on identifying the critical inputs to vaccine manufacture.  This information would be invaluable to Members looking at further developing their measures in regard to vaccine inputs. It would also enable an assessment of what was currently occurring at borders for these goods to determine where problems may be occurring and what were the best practices in place.