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ASEAN: Seamless Movement of Goods in the Offing
Source: aseansec.org
Source Date: Monday, June 14, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government
Created: Jun 21, 2010

Transport and economic operators in ASEAN will stand to benefit from seamless and synchronised procedures by using uniform documentation to move goods within the region. The new system, called the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS), received in-principle endorsement at the 19th Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs (DG Customs) held in Phuket, Thailand, from 9 to 11 June 2010. A technical working group will be set up to look into the operational and technical aspects of the ACTS.

The ACTS is an automated system established by Customs departments and agencies in ASEAN Member States in monitoring the movement of goods in transit as it is being transported from one Member State through various intermediary countries before reaching its final destination. Its development has been stipulated in the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit.

Dr Somchai Sujjapongse, Director-General of Royal Thai Customs Department, in his opening speech at the meeting, reinforced the importance of Customs in facilitating trade in the realisation of a single market and production base in ASEAN. He also encouraged the ASEAN Customs Administrations to address implementation challenges with adequate measures and in a timely manner. He emphasised that the ASEAN Single Window constitutes a key trade facilitating measure and called upon all Member States to exert efforts to overcome any difficulty in its implementation. The ASEAN Single Window aims to provide an integrated platform of partnership among government agencies and end-users in the movement of goods across the region.

The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, S. Pushpanathan, in his opening remarks, echoed the sentiments of Dr Somchai and said that Customs would be the frontier for the successful implementation of ASEAN’s economic agreements. Stressing the changing role of Customs, DSG Pushpanathan said that the Customs of today would also have a role in facilitating legitimate trade and in the protection of the international supply chain in a globalised trading environment and in the protection of the society at large. “There is no time to lose as ASEAN Customs needs be at the forefront of the ASEAN integration process in securing benefits for the business community that are due through the negotiated tariff concessions by facilitating trade at the borders,” he said.

The ASEAN DG Customs also held consultations with the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr Kunio Mikuriya to look into new programmes and areas of cooperation. The ASEAN DG Customs meet once every year to review progress of the work under working groups including on customs procedures and trade facilitation, enforcement and compliance, and the ASEAN Single Window Steering Committee. The DGs also provide the strategic guidance for future work of the working groups.

They also hold consultations with their counterparts from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in the area of Customs cooperation and meet the private sector including the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Confederation of Asia Pacific Express Couriers.
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