Asean discusses challenges in customs cooperation

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Asean countries are discussing multiple topics related to challenges as well as successes in regional customs cooperation in Vientiane this week.

The 28th Meeting of the Asean Customs Directors-General is being held from June 11-13 by the Department of Customs under the Ministry of Finance as it aims to take note and provide guidance on the work of the Asean Coordinating Committee on Customs.

The meeting has focused on the Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation Working Group, the Customs Enforcement and Compliance Working Group, the Customs Capacity Building Working Group and the Asean Single Window Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the Strategic Plans of Customs Development (SPCDs) 2016-2020.

The meeting is scheduled to discuss the tasks of all relevant customs working bodies and the commencement of the new cycle of the SPCDs covering the period 2021-2025.

The meeting is also holding consultation sessions with the customs administrations of Australia, China, Japan and Korea, aiming to strengthen customs-to-customs cooperation in the region.

Every year, there is Asean Finance Ministers Meeting and the Asean Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting to discuss the progress of the Asean Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and Asean financial cooperation, including key initiatives on further integrating the region’s payment systems in the digital economy.

Initiatives comprise enhancing connectivity and trade through customs cooperation, customs and tax integration, strengthening disaster resilience and promoting sustainable financing in the capital markets and banking integration.

Asean is regarded as one of the most dynamic regions for international trade and investment.

Asean’s Gross Domestic Product has grown about 4-5 percent per year since the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

Asean’s total trade in goods remained resilient at US$2.22 trillion in 2016, of which 23.1 percent was intra- Asean. China, EU and the US ranked as the region’s top three trading partners. Inflows of foreign direct investment to Asean reached US$96.72 billion in 2016, of which 24.8 percent was intra- Asean. 

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