VCN – Encouraging Customs administrations to a facilitate smooth and secure flow of goods and trade is one of key contents discussed at the 31st Meeting of the ASEAN Customs Directors-General held on 7-9 June 2022, in Singapore. The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Ho Chee Pong, Director General of Singapore Customs, and was attended by 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS) and the ASEAN Secretariat.
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The GDVC’s representative Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Mai Xuan Thanh also attended the meeting.
At the meeting, ASEAN Director Generals noted and provided guidance on the progress of the work of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Customs (CCC), the Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation Working Group (CPTFWG), the Customs Enforcement and Compliance Working Group (CECWG), the Customs Capacity Building Working Group (CCBWG) and the ASEAN Single Window Steering Committee (ASWSC).
The ASEAN Director Generals welcomed the live operation of the ASEAN Customs Declaration Document (ACDD) among eight ASEAN member states, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand and looked forward to the live operation of the ACDD by the remaining AMS in 2022. The meeting also looked forward to the live exchange of the electronic Phyto Certificate among Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, in 2022.
In addition, the Director Generals noted the progress of the discussion with the respective Dialogue Partner (DP), namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the US, on the exchange of e-documents. The meeting also noted the agreement to commence technical and legal framework discussions to prepare for the exchange of the electronic Certificates of Origin with China and Japan, respectively.
Considering the positive progress, the Director Generals looked forward to the exchange of the electronic Certificate of Origin with ready DPs. The link-up of the ASW with the DPs would further promote the digitalisation of trade processes, allowing the exchange of documents or data which will bring about cost and time savings to businesses.
The meeting commended the finalisation of the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) 2022 and noted that Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have implemented the AHTN 2022. It also encourages the remaining AMS to intensify efforts to implement the AHTN 2022 by end of this year.
The meeting noted recent cargo movements using the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) among Participating Member States, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The meeting further noted the efforts in improving the use of the ACTS through ongoing initiatives, including the ACTS Private Sector Partnership Building Outreach Events, the Two-Country Transit pilot between Cambodia and Viet Nam, and the feasibility study on Implementing the ACTS along the Borneo Corridor, which will involve Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The meeting looked forward to having more cargo movements using the ACTS with more diversified stakeholders. The meeting also looked forward to the ACTS live operation in Myanmar in 2023.
The Director Generals adopted the Joint Action Plan (JAP) on the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programmes of ASEAN Member States. The meeting looked forward to the signing of the ASEAN AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangement (AAMRA) by 2022 with a view to commencing the pathfinder programme with AMS by 2023.
The meeting noted the progress of the discussion on the Low-Value Shipments (LVS) and looked forward to the conclusion of the feasibility study on the simplification of customs procedures for LVS, which could include the streamlining of documents and data elements required for the purpose of faster release and clearance of the low-value consignments, among others.
The meeting held consultation sessions with Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to exchange best practices and experiences on customs-related issues, including cross-border electronic commerce, development of AEO-MRA, digitalisation of Customs procedures, pre-arrival processing, risk management, circularity and Green Customs which are key factors to support ASEAN’s progress of customs simplification and modernisation. Therefore, the meeting expected to deepening cooperation with DPs in those areas and among others.
The meeting also held consultation sessions with private sector representatives from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the EU-ASEAN Business Council, and the US-ASEAN Business Council to strengthen Customs-to-Business partnerships in the region. The consultation sessions underlined the close cooperation between customs and the private sector as a collective effort in deepening ASEAN economic integration, pushing intra-ASEAN trade, and strengthening supply chain connectivity in line with the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025.
Director Generals said that with the reopening of borders, the meeting encouraged the Customs administrations of AMS to facilitate the smooth and secure flow of goods and trade, which remain critical to the region’s recovery and growth. The meeting underlined the vital role that the customs has played in mitigating the impacts of the pandemic and encouraged customs to continue being a pillar for the development and prosperity of ASEAN.
At the meeting, the Director Generals committed to implementing the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025, including enhancing connectivity cooperation in the digital era.
The Director Generals noted the need to intensify work to minimize disruption and enhance the resilience of supply chains, and improve trade connectivity. To this end, the meeting encouraged AMS to further improve the transparency of border measures and strengthen border agency cooperation and coordination which are critical in supporting the economic recovery.
By Viet Nga/Ngoc Loan