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20th Meeting of CCBWG: Human resource strengthening in favor of ASEAN Customs

16:00 | 01/04/2017

As scheduled in the 2017 working calendar of ASEAN, the 20th Meeting of the Customs Capacity Building Working Group (CCBWG) was held on 28 – 30 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

20th meeting of ccbwg human resource strengthening in favor of asean customs

The Meeting was attended by the representatives of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Vietnam Customs’ delegation is headed by Mr. Bui Ngoc Loi- Deputy Director of Human resource and Organisation Department.

The Meeting was officially opened by Dato’ Hasnol Zam Ahmad, Deputy Director General of Customs, Royal Malaysian Customs Department. In his opening speech, he expressed sincere thanks on the opportunity to address and welcome all, to the 20th CCBWG Meeting. He recalled the establishment of ASEAN in 1967 and the process of regional integration based on 3 pillars namely, (i) political-security community; (ii) economic community; and (iii) socio-cultural community. On the ASEAN Economic Community, he cited ASEAN Customs had made important progress and concrete outcomes in the implementation of Strategic Plan of Customs Development (SPCD) and demonstrated continuous efforts in the process of modernization and contribution to the enhancements of the competitiveness of ASEAN as a whole. He viewed CCBWG as an important working group with huge responsibility and acknowledged the work and achievements made and encouraged the CCBWG to continue the work.

The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Hendra Prasmono, Director of Internal Compliance of the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. He is an experienced customs leader of Indonesia Customs and had also chaired the last CCBWG meeting in Brunei Darussalam in August 2016.

The ASEAN Secretariat presented the highlights of the recent meetings related to the customs management in the region, such as: 25th Meeting of the Coordinating Committee on Customs (25th CCC Meeting), held on 15-17 November 2016 in Yangon, Myanmar; 1st Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials for the Forty-Eight ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (SEOM 1/48) held on 8-10 February 2017 in Davao City, the Philippines...

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The delegates reviewed and amended as necessary the matrix of follow-up actions of the 19th CCBWG Meeting. In recent time, ASEAN customs cooperation has witnessed manydevelopment such as draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for Private Sector Engagement in ASEAN Customs Meeting, draft Revised TOR of the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) Task Force or Joint Customs Middle Management Programme (JCMMP) meeting in Singapore.

The Meeting also noted the update from Malaysia and the matrix on “Recommended Practices on Customs Transparency under the Strategic Programme of Customs Reforms and Modernization in ASEAN” has been amended accordingly.

Aiming at strengthening the customs integrity, Indonesia presented the draft Matrix to develop “Best Practice Guide for ASEAN Quality Standard” and acknowledged some practices in the other Member States may not be covered in the draft Matrix and sought inputs/feedback from ASEAN member states (AMS). She reiterated the aim of the activity is for AMS to provide inputs and compile their best practices to develop a best practice guide for ASEAN Quality Standard. She also stated all the products/items indicated in the Matrix are based on her experience and best practices in Indonesia and it shall be a working document subject to amendment and improvement.

The meeting took note of the updates from Thailand on the Measures for Enhancing Integrity in Thai Customs. She presented an overview of the Dogma project in 2016 which aims at enhancing Integrity Transparency Assessment in the Thai Customs Department.

The CCBWG Chair requested AMS to bring back the draft Matrix to their respective Customs administrations for consideration and further deliberation by 31 May 2017 and the AMS inputs/feedback to be submitted to the Country Coordinator, Brunei Darussalam and copy furnish the ASEAN Secretariat whom would provide the update and triggered discussions in the next CCBWG meeting.

In term of SPCD content on Human Resource Development and Administration, the Meeting noted the progress updates by Malaysia as the Country Coordinator of this SPCD as well as the “Proposal of CCBWG [5 – Year Training Program (Resource Person)] and the list of “Updated Accredited Experts by the WCO for ASEAN”. In this topic, Thai Customs presented her “Customs Professional e-Learning Platform” which is hopefully operational by the end of this year, 2017.

In coming time, ASEAN Secretariat will operate a Knowledge Based Service webpage for sharing the experience and related HRM documents in favor of its members.

In the framework of the meeting, Vietnam Customs delegation has actively participated in the Meeting’s discussion. With her own experience, Vietnam Customs shared information on establishing a qualified contingent of lecturers and English teaching course. Two presentations on (i) the Vietnam Customs School profile and (ii) English training course have been introduced to the Meeting. The English course is designed to improve English communications skills of Vietnamese customs officers to be in tune with the rapidly changing customs environment and enhance English capability especially of the younger customs officers. In fact, Vietnam Customs still face with difficulty of her limited source of accredited trainers and other necessary conditions for training activities. However, this disadvantage had been supplemented by the visiting trainers and her good relationship with outside training centers and universities as well. The AMS congratulate Viet Nam on her soon moving to the new Campus site which would allow her to accept more trainees and to AMS particularly to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar countries in sending trainees to Viet Nam.

In conclusion, the meeting agreed to draft the new SPCDs for the period 2021-2025 on the basis of Indonesia’s proposal as per the request of the 23rd ASEAN Customs DGs Meeting held on 3-5 June 2014 in Da Lat, Viet Nam. The draft SPCDs serves as the main pillar for the ASEAN Customs development in the coming time. As planned, the draft SPCDs would be tabled in the next CCBWG meeting in October 2017 in Indonesia.

By Ngoc Van (From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)