The recommendations of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on the ASEAN Economic Integration, endorsed by the 9th ASEAN Summit in October 2003, included customs facilitation matters. These include the adoption of (a) the green lane system for CEPT products at entry points of all Member Countries by 2004; (b) WTO agreement on customs valuation and develop implementation guidelines appropriate for ASEAN by end-2004; (c) service commitment (client charter) by ASEAN customs authorities; (d) the single window approach including the electronic processing of trade documents at national and regional level. Thus, ASEAN customs officials have been working on the ASEAN Customs Valuation Guide (ACVG) for publication and dissemination, establishment of Client Service Charter and ASEAN single window/
To further facilitate trade, the Protocol Governing the Implementation of the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN Protocol) was signed by the ASEAB Finance Ministers in Manila on 7 August 2003. The Protocol aims to establish clear rules to govern the implementation of the AHTN, its explanatory notes and their amendments; establish uniformity of application in the classification of goods in ASEAN; enhance transparency in the classification process for goods in the region; simplify the AHTN; and create a nomenclature which conforms to international standards. The ASEAN Customs Directors-General signed the Understanding on the Criteria for Classification in the AHTN on the 20 December 2003.
The Second Meeting of the ASEAN Customs Directors on Enforcement and Mutual Assistance was held in Bandar Seri Begawan in March 2004. The Meeting agreed on the need for information exchange on regular basis to learn from the modalities used by fraudulent traders and offenders in customs valuation and other areas of customs techniques to support efforts of revenue protection and good compliance to customs legislations. Progress has been achieved in a large number of customs techniques, namely application of infocommunication technology into customs, standardization of information parameters for customs purposes, and harmonization of practices related to customs valuation in accordance to the WTO/GATT Agreement on Customs Valuation. The ASEAN Customs Community has adopted an action plan to establish the regional e-Customs whose activities include the implementation of ASEAN Single Window to expedite Customs clearance. As a start-up, efforts have been made to standardize information parameters for customs purposes and particularly for a common customs declaration document for imports, exports and goods in transit. An Inter-Agency Task Force has been established to design and establish the ASEAN Model of Single Window.
ASEAN has achieved significant progress in adopting best practices and provisions as set forth in the Revised Kyoto Convention with a view to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and practices. Time required for the release of goods and commodities has been reduced to less than two hours on average. Significant progress has been achieved in the establishment of the Post-Clearance Audit (PCA) for expeditious clearance at the entry point. In 2003, the ASEAN PCA Manual was completed. Member Countries continued their efforts to standardize their practices in line with provisions of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement. ASEAN Customs Administrations have finalized the development of the ACVG.
More than 250 customs officers of the Member Countries and more than 150 representatives of the trading community have benefited from regional training activities in 2003. Many of these training activities received technical assistance from Japan, Australia, European Union and from the ASEAN private sector, such as DagangNet of Malaysia.