The speed at which information travels, we could say, is instantaneous, and so is its impact. The war started by Russia in Ukraine on the 24th of February, moved foreign trade and financial markets worldwide at an unprecedented pace, due to the many sanctions imposed and made countries and businesses reconsider with whom they deal and how they go about the situation.
Brazil imports 85% of fertilisers, and Russia is responsible for 23% of these imports. This is one of the facts that makes Brazil choose to adopt a neutral position towards the war. Israel tends to choose the same position as well, in the opinion of Omer Wagner, which he expresses in the article ‘Non-government-controlled territories and free trade agreements’. In this article, the question is considered: what is the origin of a product manufactured in the territory de-facto controlled by another state?
The origin of goods aspects is dealt with in two more articles. Ira Reese, in the article ‘Customs issues related to trade in purported forced labour,’ highlights customs challenges determining the origin of ‘Uighur cotton’ and concludes that 'countries may enact "feel good" laws forbidding the importation of such products and international bodies can develop guidelines and principles in commerce, but without the proper enforcement tools nothing can be accomplished unless these laws and guidelines can be enforced'. Thomas Woodtli, in the article ‘PEM Convention: application of the new rules of origin in the machinery sector’, draws attention to the application of the new transitional rules of origin.
Thomas Woodli, who is starting his new role as Global Customs Expert at one of the world’s leading providers of diagnostic systems for hospitals, gave an interview where he answered the question: why seek a career as a customs specialist? The role of the customs specialist was also discussed during the 10th Authors’ Meeting, organised by CustomsClear. You will find a summary of the thoughts and insights of customs specialists from various countries in the article ‘War: How does it highlight the role of a customs specialist, and related challenges?’
You will certainly reflect once again on the impact of the war, reading the news published on the website of EBA European Business Association on martial law imposed in Ukraine, the abolishment of mandatory labelling of non-food products in Ukrainian during martial law, and the abolishment of the list of critical imports, and, especially, reading the Open Letter to international community in relation to the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine. The news is included in the ‘Ukraine customs-related news: February/March 2022’ by Iryna Pavlenko and Oleg Kyryievskyi.
Certainly, there are many more relevant topics for customs practitioners covered in this issue, such as the EU customs declarations and procedures, customs clearance in the UK, proposed changes in Indian Customs law, digitisation of customs processes in business, and phytosanitary, veterinary and sanitary import controls.
I hope you will find new customs-related insights and knowledge in this issue. We would love to learn your thoughts, questions and feedback, so please leave your comment below an article on the CustomsClear platform, or email us at email@example.com. We always look forward to hearing from you!
Roberto Raya da Silva, São Paulo, Brazil
Member of the Editorial Board