ASEAN Customs: “A region of development and prosperity for all people”, “One ASEAN – One identity – One vision”

VCN - This is a theme of the 33rd ASEAN Director General of Customs Meeting (ADGCM) which is going to take place in Phu Quoc City (Kien Giang province) in early June and hosted by Vietnam Customs.

Achievements of ASEAN cooperation

Overview of achievements in ASEAN Customs cooperation, according to Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department, General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC), regional and international cooperation and integration are an inevitable process. A key trend in the current context with key point is economic openness and trade liberalization aiming to promote domestic resources and take advantage of external opportunities.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is currently in the regions with the most dynamic economies in the world. In addition, to expand global economic integration, ASEAN has been promoting the implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries and territories, for example, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong (China).

with the role of chairing the 33rd ADGCM Conference, Vietnam demonstrates that it is a responsible member and fully implements its obligations in the ASEAN region. Photo: Nụ Bùi
With the role of chairing the 33rd ADGCM Conference, Vietnam demonstrates that it is a responsible member and fully implements its obligations in the ASEAN region. Photo: Nụ Bùi

In the Southeast Asia region, since becoming an ASEAN member, Vietnam has achieved great achievements in economic growth and development, the scale of the economy has increased nearly 17 times from US$20.8 billion in 1995 to about US$430 billion in 2023.

With a population of more than 660 million people, GDP in 2022 reached nearly US$3,660 billion, ranking 3rd in Asia and 5th globally after the US, China, Japan and Germany. Therefore, ASEAN integration is a very important lever for Vietnam's international economic integration process.

The starting point for regional economic integration was the decision to establish the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) at the Fourth ASEAN Summit in 1992. Besides tariff reduction, AFTA commitments also include removing non-tariff barriers and promoting trade facilitation, simplifying and harmonizing customs procedures to ensure trade circulation between countries.

In particular, harmonizing customs procedures and narrowing the gap in customs management in the region based on the standards of the World Customs Organization (WCO) is one of the important goals of ASEAN. The issue of regional cooperation on customs is determined to play a very key role in supporting the construction of AFTA to facilitate trade among ASEAN members as well as realize the goals of ASEAN's long-term economic integration.

The new stage of development with the official establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 has placed new requirements on Customs agencies of countries in the region to accelerate reform and modernization, apply the best international standards and practices, as well as apply the achievements of the 4.0 Industrial Revolution to business processes and customs management.

Vietnam Customs constantly improves its position

Faced with complex developments in the world economic-political situation such as the weakening of the multilateral trade system, trade war or the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, ASEAN countries including Vietnam are facing common challenges in economic cooperation and trade exchanges.

To realize ASEAN's vision of “A region of development and prosperity for all people”, “One ASEAN - One identity - One vision”, building and developing a framework to strengthen extensive cooperation in the field of customs in ASEAN is becoming increasingly important.

Accordingly, in the role of chairing the 33rd ADGCM Conference, Vietnam demonstrates that it is a responsible member and fully implements its obligations in the ASEAN region. Thereby, enhancing the position of Vietnam Customs, affirming that it is a member agency of the ASEAN Economic Community pillar, implementing the policy, proactively participating and promoting Vietnam's role in the multilateral forums and mechanisms, including ASEAN.

Emphasizing the efforts of Vietnam Customs in the ASEAN community, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga said that since Vietnam became a member of ASEAN, Vietnam Customs has successfully hosted three ADGCM Conferences in Vietnam in 1995, 2004 and 2014 respectively.

Therefore, to successfully organize this 4th Conference and throughout the term as Chairman from June 2024 to June 2025, Vietnam Customs will make even more efforts to prepare more carefully in the meetings of the Customs Coordination Committee and Technical Working Groups, contributing to enhancing Vietnam's position and image in the eyes of international friends.

By Nụ Bùi/Thanh Thuy

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