Japan to host RCEP ministerial meeting in Tokyo on July 1 Nikkei Asian Review 15th May 2018
Ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries negotiating a regional trade deal will meet in Tokyo on July 1, the Japanese government said Tuesday. It will be the first time a country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has hosted a ministerial meeting to negotiate the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal. The gathering will be co-chaired with Singapore.
ASEAN trade facilitation efforts making progress Asia Customs & Trade 9th May 2018
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) directors-general of Customs held their 27th meeting May 2 to May 4 in Langkawi, Malaysia to review the achievements of the various Customs working committees and groups toward trade facilitation. These include the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Customs, the Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation Working Group, the Customs Enforcement and Compliance Working Group, the Customs Capacity Building Working Group, and the ASEAN Single Window Steering Committee.
27th meeting of the ASEAN Directors General of Customs: Discussing on Trade facilitation Customs News 8th May 2018
The 27th meeting of the ASEAN Directors General of Customs was held from 2nd to 4th of May 2018 in Langkawi, Malaysia. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Dato'Subromaniam Tholasy, Director General of Malaysia Customs and attended by all 10 ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Asean Single Window - a digital platform to simplify customs clearance The Business Times 26th Apr 2018
Companies across Asean are benefitting from smoother regional trade, thanks to a digital platform that simplifies customs clearance. Traders can now handle all cross-border customs documentation through the platform Asean Single Window (ASW), which will expedite cargo clearance and reduce paperwork. The platform went 'live' on Jan 1, 2018, for five Asean member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Trade tops ASEAN summit agenda amid China-US spat Nikkei Asian Review 25th Apr 2018
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will gather in Singapore for biannual summit and related meetings beginning on Wednesday, amid rising global trade tensions that threaten to derail growth of the export-reliant region. The meetings will also focus on shaping a unified response by the 10 member states toward the South China Sea disputes, as well as addressing the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. The body is expected to release a chairman's statement on Saturday detailing its discussions.
Online VES system to ease cross-border travel Borneo Bulletin Online 29th Apr 2018
As part of continuous efforts to enhance the delivery of services to traders and the public, the Royal Customs and Excise Department (RCED) announced the implementation of an online Vehicle Exit/Entry System (VES) yesterday. The department said in a press statement that the new system will facilitate and expedite the application approval process for driving vehicles across borders through control posts by applying online through the RCED portal www.bdnsw.gov.bn, which can be accessed anywhere and anytime. According to the statement, the implementation of the VES system will replace the manual system of forms which is currently used and is hoped to reduce traffic congestion at control posts for filling in vehicle forms. The department will also be introducing a QR code system to scan VES passes, which will reduce waiting time and the time taken to enter data into the system. The RCED urged the public to use this online system and get a VES pass before doing any cross-border activities by registering their respective vehicles through the VES system online before the date and time of their journey or activity.
Association members discuss enhancing logistics Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Apr 2018
Around 50 executive council members of the Brunei Freight Forwarders Association (BRUFA) attended the association’s briefing held recently at Mulia Hotel in Berakas. The meeting, chaired by BRUFA President Thomas Koh, was convened for association members to share their issues and concerns on the logistics industry and discuss ways to further develop it. It also serves as a medium for members to stay up to date with developments in the industry. “We also discussed ways on how we can increase our members’ ability to contribute to the transport industry both at the national and international levels,” Koh said. During the briefing’s first session, a talk explaining the importance of having insurance and insurance policy packages was delivered by Haji Shahrildin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Utama Dato Paduka Haji Jaya, Acting Managing Director of Syarikat Takaful Brunei Sdn Bhd. “The insurance briefing is important especially in view of Asean currently streamlining insurance policy for both commercial and private vehicles crossing over borders,” Koh added.
Government touts revenue collection reforms at meeting Phnom Penh Post 20th Apr 2018
The government says it is moving towards financial self sufficiency thanks to its reformed efforts to increase state revenue from taxes and customs income, which Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth said had doubled between 2013 and 2018.
PHL, Indonesian businesses unable to provide volume to Roro shipping BusinessMirror 28th Mar 2018
Businesses from both the Philippines and Indonesia could still hardly provide the volume to sustain the recently opened and the only roll-on, roll-off (Roro) cargo shipping in the Celebes Sea, the sea-lane that once saw a regular barter trading between Filipino, Muslims and Indonesian traders for centuries. The first trip from here in April last year, with a stopover in General Santos City and on to the international port of Bitung in the western group of islands of Indonesia, carried only five 20-footer container vans from one flour and animal feeds company. Kim Pancho, Davao City branch manager of the Super Shuttle Roro 2, said there were two other ships that succeeded the launch, witnessed by Philippine President Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. It was stopped for failure to get more shippers. “We would be mounting another one this year,” Pancho told the BusinessMirror, as he promised to provide the details of the three shipping ventures done last year and to talk further on the planned shipping this year. He did not reply to succeeding follow-up inquiries, though. The Celebes Sea route cuts down shipping time to only one and a half days and one half, and subsequently a cheaper rate for cargo to only $700.
Government seeks port and shipping efficiency The Jakarta Post 12th Apr 2018
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi promised on Thursday to improve the efficiency of ports with the aim of reducing logistics costs by between 20 to 30 percent. "We believe efficiency at big ports in particular could be improved and that costs could be reduced by between 20 to 30 percent," he said on Thursday, adding that his ministry was calculating the loaded and unloaded costs incurred at Tanjung Priok Port. Budi said the subsidized freightliner program, known as tol laut or the maritime highway, would commence full operations this month although he admitted there was an imbalance in the ship load between ports in the eastern and western parts of the country. He believed the maritime highway program could be made more efficient by holding a tender to seek more efficient shipping strategies, by considering not only the number of ships but also the load carried by each ship.
USTR Announces New GSP Eligibility Reviews of India, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan USTR 12th Apr 2018
The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced today that it is reviewing the eligibility of India, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) based on concerns about the countries’ compliance with the program. The reviews are based on the Trump Administration’s new GSP country eligibility assessment process as well as GSP country eligibility petitions.
Laos, Brunei extend length of reciprocal visa-free visits Vientiane Times 3rd Apr 2018
The governments of Laos and Brunei Darussalam have agreed that their citizens can stay in the other’s country for up to 30 days without having to obtain a visa. The agreement extends the visa-free stay from 14 to 30 days and is applicable to the holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports. The new ruling came into effect on March 30, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press statement.
Car prices may rise if SST reintroduced? NST Online 14th May 2018
Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor and assembler of Nissan vehicles in Malaysia, said cars may bemore expensive when the Sales and Services Tax (SST) is reintroduced. According to its sales and marketing director Christopher Tan, the industry could see higher car prices if the return of SST is based on the previous calculation formula in the Service Tax Regulations 1975. "If you look at the prices from three years ago, during the transition from SST to Goods and Services Tax (GST), the prices of vehicles came down a bit," said Tan during a press conference after the all-new Nissan Serena launching ceremony.
Short-term transitional issues expected in shift back to SST The Edge Markets 14th May 2018
Transitional issues can be expected in the short term as the new Pakatan Harapan government carries out its pledge of abolishing the goods and services tax (GST) and bringing back the sales and services tax (SST), say tax experts. PricewaterhouseCoopers Taxation Services Malaysia (PwC) executive director and head of indirect tax Raja Kumaran said rules need to be put in place by the government during the transition period from GST to SST.
Important Changes to Myanmar Trademark Law Deacons 2nd May 2018
This circular is to alert you to substantial changes to Myanmar’s trade mark regime. Myanmar has been working on improving protection for intellectual property as part of its plan to overhaul its legal framework to facilitate and encourage foreign investment in the country. The Bill sets out both civil and criminal liability for trade mark infringement and also provides for enforcement through Customs, interim injunctions and evidence preservation orders. Please note that the Bill still has to go through the Lower House of the Myanmar Parliament so there is a chance that there may still be changes. Further, implementing regulations are also expected to clarify aspects of the Bill, but the timetable for the publication of these have yet to be announced.
BOC to complete WB requirements for customs automation by midyear PortCalls Asia 11th May 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) hopes to finish by the middle of this year the requirements that will lead the World Bank (WB) to approve a proposed project to modernize and automate the customs agency. “We have been doing the requirements we’re given by the World Bank,” Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña told PortCalls in a recent chance interview.
BOC releases implementing rules for accreditation of importers, brokers PortCalls Asia 2nd May 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued implementing rules for the accreditation of importers and customs brokers following the Department of Finance’s (DOF) directive returning the sole authority to accredit such entities to the BOC. Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 05-2018, dated and signed on April 24 but published online on May 2, provides the requirements for new application and renewal of accreditation of importers and customs brokers.
BIR, Customs collections up in first quarter philstar.com 6th Apr 2018
The national government’s tax revenue, as well as disbursements all recorded double digit growth in the first quarter, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported yesterday. According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) improved 16 percent and 24 percent, respectively, in the first three months from a year ago. Disbursements, meanwhile, jumped 31 percent over the same period in 2017. This is faster than the forecast made by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who earlier said spending may have grown less than 20 percent during the quarter. Based on computations, BIR collection in the first quarter likely hit P429.66 billion from P370.4 billion in the same period in 2017. The BOC’s collection may have also reached P129.08 billion compared to last year’s P104.1 billion. Expenditures during the three-month period also likely reached P806.17 billion, up from the P615.4 billion posted in the same period in 2017. Dominguez attributed the double-digit growth in revenue to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, while the surge in disbursements was driven by the administration’s massive infrastructure program.
Customs tightens rules to avoid entry of high-risk cargoes into PH Manila Bulletin News 17th May 2018
Shipping lines and airlines are now required to submit advance cargo manifest to the Bureau of Customs in a bid to protect the country’s borders from the entry of high-risk cargoes. Cargo manifest or Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) contains the detailed list of cargo on board the vessel or aircraft including information on the goods such as transport document numbers, consignors, consignees, marks and numbers, number and kind of packages, weight, description, quantity of the goods, and the destination.
BIR issues revised policies and guidelines for conversion of TCC philstar.com 7th May 2018
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued revised policies and guidelines for the conversion of tax credit certificates (TCC) into cash refund. Internal Revenue commissioner Caesar Dulay issued Revenue Memorandum 20-2018, prescribing the new procedures on the processing of requests for cash conversion of TCCs, and updating the functions and responsibilities of offices involved in this process.
PH Customs defers for 3 weeks order on submission, counterchecking of list of importables Asia Customs & Trade 5th Apr 2018
Philippine Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña has suspended for three weeks the implementation of an order he signed on March 27 that required all importers to submit a copy of their list of importable items approved by the Account Management Office (AMO), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) unit that handles the accreditation of importers and customs brokers. That same order had also required district and sub-port collectors, deputy collectors for assessment, chiefs of the Formal Entry Division (FED), FED personnel, importers/consignees, brokers and all other concerned to counter check the approved list before processing an import entry “to ensure that only commodities or items in the approved list is imported by consignee”.
Duterte appoints official linked to drug shipment mess as Customs assistant commissioner CNN 5th Apr 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed former Manila International Container Port district collector Vincent Philip Maronilla, who was previously accused of accepting bribes in the P6.4 billion worth shabu shipment case, as the new assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Maronilla is currently the district collector for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In August 2017, Customs fixer Mark Taguba identified Maronilla as one of the officials who accepted bribes for a 604-kilogram drug shipment from China, one of the biggest hauls of smuggled drugs in the country.
Singapore chamber brings trade documents onto blockchain Global Trade Review (GTR) 9th May 2018
The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce is to move electronic certificates of origin (eCOs) onto a blockchain-based platform in a bid to improve transparency and security. A new solution was launched this week, with 10 of the chamber’s largest certificate of origin users using it in pilot mode. The chamber’s CEO, Victor Mills, tells GTR that the aim is to have all customers who currently process applications manually to be on the new system by the start of January 2019.
Customs to increase supply chain safety Bangkok Post 1st May 2018
The Customs Department is about to seal deals for the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) mutual recognition programme associated with international trade supply chain security with another five counterparts by next year. Thailand plans to sign the agreements with three countries -- Japan, Malaysia and Singapore -- this year, and Britain and Australia next year, said Kulit Sombatsiri, director-general of the department. The department has already signed such cooperation agreements with Hong Kong and South Korea.
Alibaba urges higher import duty exemption Bangkok Post 23rd Apr 2018
Jack Ma's flagship unit Alibaba has asked the Thai government to raise the maximum 1,500-baht import duty exemption in a push that could boost the country's demand for imported goods and cut customs officials' workload. The e-commerce giant has signed deals to splash more than 10 billion baht in investment in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.
Thailand commits to ‘long-term partnership’ with Alibaba The Nation 22nd Apr 2018
Under this partnership, agencies of the Thai government and business units of Alibaba will work closely in a number of areas, including e-commerce, digital logistics, tourism and training. The partnership represents the strengthening of collaboration between the Alibaba Group and the Thai government following the signing of a letter of intent in 2016, a move that kick-started a series of joint efforts to bolster the capacity of Thai entrepreneurs in gaining access to new markets and taking advantage of digital innovations.
United States and Thailand Discuss Strengthening Engagement on Trade, Resolving Priority Issues United States Trade Representative 17th Apr 2018
Washington, D.C. – The United States and Thailand met today under the U.S.-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to discuss ways to deepen trade ties and address outstanding bilateral trade issues between them. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of their longstanding relationship and of working together to expand trade. The United States updated Thailand on the Trump Administration’s trade agenda and the priority it places on promoting fair and reciprocal trade, as well as strengthening ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Controversial rule on declared valuables at airports put on ice Bangkok Post 4th Apr 2018
Outbound travellers will not have to declare all of their valuables at international airports during Songkran, the Customs Department said Tuesday in an unexpected volte-face. For the sake of travellers' convenience during the April 12-16 festival, the department has repealed its recent announcement that valuables worth over 100,000 baht would need to be declared and deferred this to a later date, said Kulit Sombatsiri, the department's director-general. The figure has now reverted back to 200,000 baht.
Somkid: Thailand eyes becoming CPTPP member Bangkok Post 30th Mar 2018
Thailand is set to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) this year, a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations excluding the US, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. Speaking after a discussion with high-ranking officials of the Commerce Ministry yesterday, Mr Somkid ordered the ministry to speed up analysis of the CPTPP as soon as possible so that Thailand could join the trade bloc within this year.
Lạch Huyện int’l port opens in Hải Phòng vietnamnews.vn 14th May 2018
The Lạch Huyện international port in the northern port city of Hải Phòng, which uses Japanese ODA funding, opened on Sunday (May 13), according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project is part of the International Port Infrastructure Construction Project through JICA. In addition, the Tân Vũ intersection (of the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng expressway, Tân Vũ-Lạch Huyện road and ring road of Hải Phòng City) is under construction and is expected to be completed within this year. Under the project, the Đình Vũ Bridge which is 5.44 km long, is the longest bridge crossing the sea in Việt Nam. It also opened to traffic last September.
Tool Chests and Cabinets from China and Vietnam Injure U.S. Industry, Says USITC USITC 11th May 2018
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of tool chests from China and Vietnam that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value. Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Vice Chairman David S. Johanson, and Commissioners Irving A. Williamson, Meredith M. Broadbent voted in the affirmative. Commissioner Jason E. Kearns did not participate in these investigations.
Vietnam Customs upgrades online public service system Asia Customs & Trade 4th Apr 2018
Vietnam’s General Department of Customs has announced the addition of more than 40 administrative procedures in the agency’s public online service system. Vietnam Customs said in a recent statement that it launched on February 1, 2018 the additional 42 administrative procedures in the public online service system at https://pus.customs.gov.vn. As a result, some 170 to 180 administrative procedures in the customs field are now conducted online through the IT systems of Vietnam Customs. These systems include the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System or VNACCS/VCIS, e-payment gateway, national single window, and public online service system.