1. The Tenth Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs was held on 23-24 July 2002 in Singapore, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Koh Chong Hwa, Director-General of the Singapore Customs and Excise Department.
2. The Meeting was attended by the Directors-General of Customs, and Heads of the Customs and Excise Administrations of the Government of Brunei Darussalam, of the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, of the Government of Lao PDR, of the Government of Malaysia, of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, of the Government of the Republic of Singapore, of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
3. The Meeting was opened by Mr. Lim Siong Guan, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance of Singapore. In his keynote address, Mr. Lim attached great importance to ASEAN Customs cooperation and to the role of Customs as trade facilitator for the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). He congratulated the ASEAN Customs Administrations for their commitment and efforts in the implementation of the Policy Implementation and Work Programme (PIWP). He highlighted that the role of Customs has evolved from the simple task of collecting taxes to trade facilitation and ensuring the easy movement of goods.
4. ASEAN Customs Directors-General considered the first formulation of the Roadmap for Integration of ASEAN (RIA) in Customs. The Roadmap sets important milestones with clear-cut timeframes in implementing the Hanoi Plan of Action. It would provide opportunity for ASEAN to embark on a more cohesive and coherent programme of regional integration and to enhance the structural efficiency of ASEAN Customs. It works towards deepening and broadening the regional integration in the pursuit of the establishment of a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN Economic Integration by the year 2020.
5. One key outcome of this Meeting was the endorsement of the Protocol Governing the Implementation of the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) by the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs. Under the Protocol, ASEAN Member Countries are committed to implement the AHTN latest by 1 Jul 2003. It is envisaged that the implementation of the AHTN will further facilitate intra-ASEAN trade and analysis of intra-ASEAN trade statistics. The Protocol of the AHTN is targeted to be signed by the ASEAN Finance Ministers later this year.
6. ASEAN Customs Directors-General expressed the commitment to work for trade facilitation and for economic development of Member Countries. The Customs Cooperation is based on six principles of Consistency, Appeals, Simplicity, Transparency, Efficiency, Mutual Assistance and Cooperation. Harmonization of Customs procedures and formalities, of Customs Valuation, of Customs Post Clearance Audit and Customs Automation benefit significantly and directly to businesses with more simplified, more harmonized and transparent procedures throughout ASEAN Countries. The ASEAN Customs Community work towards the adoption of international best practices and standards such as provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention and those of other related international agreements.
7. ASEAN Customs Directors-General noted the progress made in various areas of the Customs cooperation during the period of 2001-2002 under the Policy Implementation and Work Programme (PIWP). The PIWP consists of 15 areas of customs cooperation towards to the realisation of the Customs Vision 2020, which is to foster greater customs partnership for world class ASEAN Customs. The ASEAN Customs Administrations are committed to work for further deepening and broadening the cooperation in response to challenges ahead and to needs of Member Countries in line with decisions of ASEAN Leaders and Ministers. In narrowing the development gap for newer Members of ASEAN (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam), ASEAN Customs Directors-General expressed their support for the Initiatives for ASEAN Integration (IAI).
8. ASEAN Directors-General of Customs held the Sixth ASEAN Private Sector-Customs Consultation. The ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the US-ASEAN Business Council and representatives of businesses and industries, such as the IBMs, Unisys, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (TNT, FedEx, UPS and DHL) participated in the consultation. They brought to the attention of the ASEAN Customs Administrations their views on Trade Facilitation by the Customs, the Customs Modernization and the strengthening the CEPT Rules of Origin as well as its enforcement aspects. Project ACCESS constitutes a good example of the cooperation Customs-Private Sector.
9. The ASEAN Directors-General of Customs expressed their sincere appreciation for the technical assistance, provided by the Japan Government, particularly the Customs and Tariff Bureau of Japan to ASEAN Customs. Its generous support bolsters ongoing work by the ASEAN Customs community for the World Class Standard of Excellence and for the effective implementation of AFTA.