The ASEAN Customs Administrations play a critical role in the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, in particular in the realisation of the “free flow of goods” element of the “single market and production base” stipulated in the AEC Blueprint. The new ASEAN Agreement on Customs was signed on 30 March 2012, marking the effort to streamline and harmonise customs procedures in ASEAN.
ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN)
To further facilitate trade, the Protocol Governing the Implementation of the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) was signed by the ASEAN 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 AHTN is an 8-digit commodity nomenclature based on the Harmonized System (HS) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and was first adopted in 2004. Following the successful implementation of the AHTN 2012, ASEAN had endorsed the latest version of the AHTN 2017, expected to be fully implemented across ASEAN by end-of-2017 and/or early 2018.
ASEAN Single Window (ASW)
With a view to expediting Customs clearance, ASEAN had adopted an action plan to establish the ASEAN Single Window. Information parameters for customs purposes and particularly for a common customs declaration document for imports, exports and goods in transit had been standardized. The Steering Committee for the ASEAN Single Window meets regularly to discuss ways forward to speed up the establishment of a regional-wide ASEAN Single Window. At the same time, efforts with regard to technical aspects of the initiative were made by the Technical Working Group on ASEAN Single Window whilst the Legal Working Group on the ASEAN Single Window had accomplished its task with the signing of the Protocol on the Legal Framework to Implement the ASEAN Single Window (PLF). For further information on ASEAN Single Window, please visit the following URL: http://asw.asean.org.
ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS)
The ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS), a computerized Customs transit management system was initiated to enable goods to move more freely and facilitates Customs clearance formalities from point of departure through transit and ending at point of destination. Work is on-going for the implementation of the ACTS pilot project conducted amongst three (3) ASEAN Member States. ACTS is planned to roll-over to other ASEAN Member States. For further information on ASEAN For further information on ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS), please visit the following URL: http://acts.asean.org.
Kyoto Convention Adoption
ASEAN has achieved significant progress in adopting best practices and provisions as set forth in the Revised Kyoto Convention, namely to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and practices. Time release of goods and commodities was significantly reduced to less than two hours on average in all AMS. Significant progress had also been achieved in the establishment of Post-Clearance Audit (PCA) for expeditious clearance at entry points of the AMS, with an ASEAN PCA Manual completed for reference. The Member States had also continued their efforts to standardize their practices in line with provisions of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement, with a document of ASEAN Customs Valuation Guide also published for reference.
WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA)
With the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA) in February 2017, the ASEAN Customs Administrations currently endeavor to expedite an ASEAN-wide implementation of the WTO TFA, as they would try to reap the benefits of the enforced WTO-TFA. At the same time, the ASEAN Customs Administrations are committed to developing a cooperation mechanisms to promote the Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) status and its mutual recognition. The commitment is also expressed in the article 35 of the ASEAN Agreement on Customs 2012, which states that ASEAN Member States shall establish national AEO programmes, and develop mechanisms of cooperation with a view to promoting mutual recognition of AEO status and Customs controls.
Private Sector Participation
In order to boost seamless trade flow in the region, the ASEAN Customs Administrations also actively promote a strengthened cooperation with the private sector as the key stakeholders providing contributions to the smoother regional and global supply chains. To this end, the 26th Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs in Bali, Indonesia on 16-18 May 2017 endorsed a Terms of Reference for Private Sector Engagement, aimed at facilitating the involvement of the private sector in future Customs meetings with a view to achieving relevant Customs’ objectives in the region.