Promoting ASEAN customs integration

The 19th Meeting of the ASEAN Customs Directors-General (DGs), held from 9 to 11 June 2010 in Phuket, Thailand, was chaired by the Director-General of Royal Thailand Customs Department, Dr Somchai Sujjapongse. This annual meeting of the Customs DGs is the body that oversees customs cooperation within ASEAN. Leading the Singapore delegation at the meeting was Mr Fong Yong Kian, Director-General of Singapore Customs.

The ASEAN Customs Directors-General witnessed the destruction of counterfeit goods using a giant steamroller at the Phuket Customs House.
The meeting achieved several concrete outcomes to support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. This is a vision by ASEAN leaders to transform ASEAN into a highly competitive single market and production base that is fully integrated into the global community.

Among other developments, the DGs endorsed the broad principles for the development of the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit. The development of the ACTS, in which Singapore Customs is playing a leading role, will provide a regional custos procedure that will enable traders to move goods seamlessly across multiple ASEAN member states using a single regional customs document and single guarantee for transit. This will reduce the hassle of having to negotiate multiple national-level customs procedures and paperwork to clear goods along the ASEAN supply chain. Moving forward, the DGs agreed to set up a working group to look into the operational and technical aspects of the ACTS.

During the course of the meeting, the ASEAN DGs discussed various issues pertaining to customs procedures and trade facilitation, as well as customs enforcement and compliance. The DGs also held fruitful consultations with the customs administrations from China, Japan and Korea, as well as the World Customs Organization, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers.

To showcase its commitment in the fight against goods infringing intellectual property rights (IPR), the host country Thailand also arranged for the ASEAN DGs to witness the destruction of IPR-infringing goods at the Phuket Customs House.

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