WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection successfully added language to the World Customs Organization's guidelines on relief consignments in response to natural disasters and humanitarian crisis situations. The World Customs Organization recently adopted U.S. Customs and Border Protection's proposed language to increase the scope of situations in which relief consignments can receive expedited processing when clearing Customs.
"In working with our partners in the private sector, CBP learned that many donors of international goods like medicines and emergency supplies often experience problems when shipping goods, freely given as aid, in response to humanitarian crisis," said Assistant Commissioner, Charles E. Stallworth, II. "This addition to the Revised Kyoto Convention will help those in need to receive the aid that is desperately needed and graciously donated."
In November 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection delegates proposed an amendment to the Revised Kyoto Convention at the 10th Meeting of the Revised Kyoto Convention Management Committee in Brussels, Belgium. The committee adopted U.S. Customs and Border Protection's amendments to the guidelines on urgent consignments.
Urgent consignments are goods that require rapid conveyance and clearance through Customs. A subset of urgent consignments includes relief consignments, and can include such goods such as medicaments, vaccines, replacement parts, fire fighting and rescue equipment, scientific and medical equipment, equipment for use in searches, investigations and salvage in connection with accidents.
Under the change to the Revised Kyoto Convention guidelines, expedited clearance of relief consignments is urged in cases of humanitarian crisis such as famine and disease in addition to natural disasters. CBP pursued this amendment to ensure that Customs administrations around the world would serve as facilitators to humanitarian relief instead of barriers.