1. The Meeting was attended by Mr. Haji Mohanunad Junaidi Abdul Rahman, Acting Deputy Controller of Customs and Excise, Royal Customs and Excise, Brunei Darussalam; Mr. Soehardjo, Director-General of Customs and Excise, Directorate-General of Customs and Excise, Indonesia; Dato’ Mohd. Nor bin Abdul Hamid, Director-General of Customs, Royal Customs and Excise, Malaysia; Mr. Buenaventura C. Maniego, Collector of Customs, Bureau of Customs, Philippines; Mr. Koh Chong Hwa, Director-General of Customs, Customs and Excise Department, Singapore; Mr. Suphachai Phisitvanich, Director-General of Customs, The Customs Department, Thailand; and their respective delegations. H.E. Dato’ Ajit Singh, Secretary-General of ASEAN and staff of the ASEAN Secretariat were also present. The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Soehardjo, Director-General of Customs and Excise, Indonesia.

2. Mr. Bui Duy Bao, Deputy Director-General of Customs, General Department of Customs, Vietnam and his delegation were also in attendance as Observers.

3. ASEAN trade is growing in importance both among the Member Countries and with the rest of the world. In 1994 ASEAN trade ranked fourth in the world after the EU, US and Japan. Between 1993 and 1994, intra-ASEAN trade for products covered by the Common Effective Preferential Tariff Scheme for the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) grew from US$ 64.2 billion to US$ 91.5 billion resulting in an increase of 43 %. The dynamism of the economies of the region is reflected in these figures. Trade will remain the driving force to sustain the rapid economic growth and deepening economic integration in this region.

4. In recognising this, the Customs administrations of the ASEAN Member Countries have stepped up cooperative efforts to facilitate and further promote trade in the region. The AFTA Council had requested the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs to accelerate the efforts in the harmonisation of the three main aspects of customs i.e., tariff nomenclature, customs valuation and customs procedures.

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