Vietnam Takes Leading Role in ASEAN Joint Customs Campaign

As one of the highlights at the 33rd ASEAN Customs Directors-General Meeting in Phu Quoc city (Kien Giang), Deputy Secretary General for ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh witnessed the transfer of the role of Chairman of the ASEAN Customs Directors General Conference from Thailand to Vietnam.
June 06, 2024 | 10:03
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Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh shared in a recent interview that he highly valued the role of Vietnam Customs in developing ASEAN Customs.

"In recent years, Vietnam has played a very active role in promoting regional customs integration. First of all, the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Priority Enterprises is one of the important initiatives within ASEAN, aiming to reduce the burden on businesses and promote the circulation of goods. Vietnam's participation in this Agreement is very important," said Singh.

He said that the ASEAN Customs Transit System, with Vietnam and 5 member countries participating in the initiative on Vehicle Licenses for Transporting Goods in Transit, allows 1 cargo vehicle to use 1 license to pass through many countries during transit. Vietnam participates in the initiative on Licensed Carriers in ACTS with other member countries.

"Vietnam is also actively taking the lead in fighting illegal trade and in researching the best practices of ASEAN customs such as simplifying customs procedures and e-commerce. I hope other customs agencies will make similar efforts to Vietnam Customs," exclaimed the Deputy Secretary General.

(Photo: Asia House).
(Photo: Asia House).

Singh assessed that Vietnam takes on the role of Chairman of the ASEAN Customs Directors General Meeting in a very important period with the region going through digital transformation, transition to sustainability, and paperless trade for reducing carbon emissions in the supply chain.

"During Vietnam's Chairmanship, I hope ASEAN customs can implement the mutual recognition agreement on priority businesses. Another big area is improving e-commerce information exchange between business customs, which is hoped to be achieved during Vietnam's presidency," said Singh.

According to the report from the ASEAN Economic Community, the region attracted the most FDI in the world by the end of 2023, reaching US $230 billion, surpassing China. During this term, Vietnam also needs to work with the Customs of ASEAN countries to complete the Customs Development Strategic Plans for the period 2026-2030, he added, as well as the vision for the following years.

During this chairmanship, Vietnam will play a leading role in the joint customs campaign among ASEAN member countries.

Highlighting the importance of the joint customs campaign, he said that ASEAN Customs has an important responsibility in enhancing the region's economic competitiveness through its ability to ensure cross-border trade of goods.

This is because the region depends heavily on trade activities, with a value of US $3,800 billion, one of the largest trade regions in the world. From now until 2030, regional trade growth is predicted to reach 5% of GDP.

One of the important factors is the free circulation of goods within the region and with trading partners, Singh shared.

The role and impact that customs can bring to regional economic growth can allow the member countries to facilitate supply chains coming from foreign countries.

"The trade facilitation role of Customs is important. ASEAN has a Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) that is being negotiated to upgrade, expected to be completed in 2025. Along with that is a new generation of goods, such as e-commerce and low-value goods, along with commitments to digital transformation. The ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA), which is being negotiated, also includes the E-commerce Chapter," he noted.

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