Advancing Intra-ASEAN Trade Facilitation

Tue, 11 Jun 2024 15:55:00  |  Print  |  Email   Share:

At the 33rd Meeting of ASEAN Directors-General of Customs, recently held in Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Mr. Nguyen Van Can, Director General of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, presented contents extended from the 32nd meeting in Thailand as well as forthcoming customs collaboration, with a particular emphasis on the direction for the Customs Development Strategy Plan for the 2026-2030 period.

The meeting took place amidst a notable resurgence in ASEAN’s trade, services, investment, and tourism sectors. In 2023, the economic landscape of ASEAN was buoyant, with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) escalating by 4.3%, surpassing the global average of 2.7%. Furthermore, ASEAN Customs distinguished itself as a bright spot in customs collaboration within the Asia-Pacific region.

In customs cooperation, bilateral and multilateral partners continued to value and support the role of ASEAN Customs.

“We are delighted to see that ASEAN Customs exhibits minimal divergence in their methodologies. Disparities in stages of development and modernization have been mitigated through the fostering of trust, a constructive ethos, consensus, support, and the benevolence of ASEAN Customs agencies,” he said.

At the conference, customs agencies of ASEAN member states discussed contents extended from the 32nd meeting in Thailand as well as upcoming customs cooperation, especially direction for the Customs Development Strategy Plan for the 2026-2030 period

ASEAN Customs will continue to work together to address difficulties and challenges caused by the pandemic and natural disasters to restore the economy, he said, adding that ASEAN Customs is resolved to reinforce cooperation and convey a positive message about a cohesive ASEAN Customs community as the priority theme of ASEAN in 2024.

ASEAN Customs is committed to facilitating a common market and production base, serving the 700 million-strong community, and integrating fully into the global economy. Director General Can highlighted the adoption of a roadmap for harmonizing customs procedures, applying a common tariff, operating the ASEAN Single Window for document exchange, and implementing the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Priority Enterprises.

These achievements have helped drive trade growth within ASEAN and with partners to US$3.8 trillion, becoming the fifth largest economy in the world, accounting for 3.6% of global GDP. In addition to trade facilitation goals, it is equally important to control and combat smuggling and trade fraud to ensure the flow of legal trade.

With such common awareness, ASEAN Customs has effectively implemented campaigns to control goods at risk of trade fraud and threats to safety and security of the community. In particular, ASEAN Customs has initially successfully implemented the Joint Customs Control Program, thus improving the effectiveness of information sharing through the ASEAN Alert Notification System.

In the coming period, in addition to customs modernization goals, ASEAN Customs needs to focus on implementing initiatives on green customs, enhancing connectivity and sharing intelligence so that control work can be carried out more effectively, not only within ASEAN but also in coordination with dialogue partners, he said.

Together with ASEAN Customs, Vietnam has also made efforts to effectively implement initiatives and commitments to realize ASEAN’s common goals. Hence, Vietnam Customs is determined to carry out the Digital Customs and Smart Customs Development Plan in the coming time. He believed that a modern customs management model, empowered by new technologies such as AI, big data and blockchain, is not only the goal of Vietnam Customs but also of customs administrations of ASEAN member states.

Director General Can emphasized: ASEAN Customs is poised for a new phase of enhanced integration and connectivity, aiming for a sustainable future economy and digital transformation, as per the Joint Statement of the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

By: Le Hien/ Vietnam Business Forum



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