The CAREC Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) held its 15th annual meeting in Singapore.
The Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue hosted this year's meeting. Heads and senior customs officials representing Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan attended the meeting.
The objectives of the meeting were to (i) update CCC members on progress made on the five priority areas of CCC, (ii) receive feedback from CCC members on ongoing investment projects and technical assistance for trade facilitation, (iii) develop plans and activities for trade facilitation initiatives in CAREC, and (iv) review and endorse proposed pilot mechanisms on customs information exchange and regional transit guarantee.
The CCC agreed to endorse the following to the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 25 October 2016:
- Piloting of a customs information exchange mechanism. An assessment of the readiness and maturity of existing country-level customs information systems concluded that a simple information exchange pilot can be conducted between the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, and Tajikistan customs, and a complex pilot can be conducted between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.* Both pilots will explore the use of pre-arrival and/or cargo manifest and/or transport documents.
- Piloting of a CAREC regional transit system, including a regional transit guarantee mechanism (RTGM). To pilot a regional transit regime utilizing a single electronic transit document and a new RTGM.
- More investment and technical assistance projects for trade facilitation. Based on the latest Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring report, more border crossing point pairs in other CAREC countries need improvement including development of national single window facilities and the facilitation of their regional interoperability. Asian Development Bank, through new projects using the Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) and Regional Upgrade of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures for Trade (RUST) modality can support these investment needs.
- Establishment and strengthening of national trade facilitation committees (NTFCs). The establishment and strengthening of NTFCs is promoted as good international practice. In addition, establishment of NTFCs and a regional trade facilitation committee is mandated in the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy (2009 and 2020). The CCC supports the establishment of NTFCs and requests SOM endorsement for their establishment.
- Enhanced cooperation between public and private sector for more effective trade facilitation. The engagement of the private sector, which has been highlighted in previous years, is evident in the trade facilitation sector through the involvement of the CAREC Federation of Carriers and Forwarders Associations (CFCFA). Support for joint capacity-building activities (trainings, workshops, and regular policy dialogues) to strengthen cooperation between CFCFA and CCC is needed. The CCC encourages CFCFA to participate in pilot projects.
For the second year, a dialogue between CCC and CFCFA members was held. The dialogue focused on how to enhance cooperation between customs and private sector.
The CFCFA members indicated their willingness to participate in the proposed pilots on customs information exchange and the regional transit guarantee mechanism. They emphasized their accessibility and comparative advantage in providing timely and accurate field level data for these pilots.
Private companies from Singapore, through the International Enterprise Singapore, shared their experiences and presented trade solution strategies that they have provided to several countries particularly on the development and implementation of single window systems.
(*Simple information exchange will involve one-way information exchange in real time where applicable and not involve any integration into the agency's customs information and risk management systems. Complex information exchange system will involve multiple information exchange in real-time using the latest distributed database technology and will involve integration of information exchange into agency's customs information and risk management systems.)