In recognition of the Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day marked on 27 June, the WCO Secretariat issued a Secretariat Note on Support to SMEs to raise awareness of the leadership that Customs can show in strengthening the SME sector during these unprecedented times of COVID-19.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international trade, travel and transport, including disrupted supply chains, staffing constraints and social restrictions, has left many businesses closed, and plenty more not fully functional. SMEs make up a large portion of the economy of many WCO Members and have been especially vulnerable under these unprecedented circumstances. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, 40-60% of small businesses never reopen after a disaster1 .
The WCO Secretariat Note on Support to SMEs encourages the WCO Membership to make full use of the WCO instruments and tools developed over the past years and more recently. By conforming to the principles and standards for harmonization and simplification of Customs procedures embedded in the Revised Kyoto Convention, drawing from Members’ national practices and implementing measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as listed in the Secretariat Note, Customs administration can play a significant role in supporting SMEs and national economies during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as towards business resumption and post-pandemic economic recovery.