Time to Restrict GSP Benefits to Fight Trade Mercantilism Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 20th Aug 2018
Duty-free access to U.S. markets represents a major benefit for many trading partners that clearly do not provide fair and reasonable market access or treatment of U.S. firms and their goods and services. At the heart of the United States’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) lies a recognition that free trade supports economic growth in developing countries, and such trade can be mutually beneficial. However, with their duty-free access to U.S. markets comes the responsibility of abiding by free and fair trade practices. Yet, a number of the developing countries that benefit from the GSP—most notably Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Thailand—have enacted a broad range of trade barriers and other market distortions that hurt U.S. firms and workers, and contravene the GSP’s requirement that they provide reasonable and fair market access to U.S. firms and their goods and services.
Asean agrees to step up efforts on world's largest free-trade pact The Straits Times 5th Aug 2018
Amid anxiety over a trade war, Asean nations and their key partners have agreed to redouble efforts to conclude a region-wide trade pact by the end of the year. The 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would, if concluded, be the world's largest free trade deal. "All 10 Asean countries and our external partners acknowledge that a multilateral, rules-based trading system, which has underpinned our progress and peace for the past 70 years is under pressure, but we need to double down on this principle," said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday at the end of a week of Asean-led meetings.
Ideas: Moving Seamless Asean Sky forward The Edge Markets 21st Jul 2018
The Seamless Asean Sky is a critical component of the Asean Economic Community (AEC). With its world-class aviation industry and central location, Malaysia has played a leading role in pursuing the notion of having a single sky in Asean. Therefore, as Anthony Loke settles into his new job as transport minister, one of his top priorities should be progressing the seamless skies policy in Asean. With Malaysia as chair of the Asean Air Transport Working Group, this is a great opportunity to show Malaysia’s leadership in delivering jobs and growth in the region.
‘World’s First’ Trade Blockchain Launches in Singapore to Link China and ASEAN Nations CCN 19th Jul 2018
A Singapore-based e-government service provider – notably owned by a government body and a port operator – has launched a blockchain platform focused on cross-border trade between ASEAN nations and China. Singapore-based CrimsonLogic, an e-government solutions provider with a presence in over 20 countries, announced [PDF] details of its ‘inclusive and extensible blockchain service’ that the company says will will ‘boost overall efficiency, security and transparency’ for global trade.
EU and ASEAN to restart FTA process: PM Lee Channel NewsAsia 15th Jul 2018
The European Union (EU) and ASEAN have agreed to restart the process of establishing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between them, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul 14). And as the ASEAN coordinator for ASEAN-EU relations after this August, he said that Singapore hopes to establish a framework to identify areas with potential to work out deals.
Plans for new cargo terminal in capital unveiled Khmer Times 17th Jul 2018
Cargo handling capacity at Phnom Penh’s International Airport will be taken to the next level with the construction of a new cargo terminal announced by Cambodia Airports this week. The planned cargo terminal will boost the Kingdom’s international trade, according to Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airports, the company in charge of managing the country’s international airports.
Indonesia considers reducing imports of 500 consumer goods The Jakarta Post 15th Aug 2018
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on Tuesday the Finance Ministry, together with the Industry Ministry and Trade Ministry, would team up to identify more than 500 imported consumer goods that could be replaced by local substitutes. The Finance Ministry’s fiscal policy head Suahasil Nazara said the import reduction measures for consumer goods were under discussion and that the ministry would issue a regulation on the matter.
How Indonesian customs is affecting cross-border B2C ecommerce Tech in Asia 10th Aug 2018
With a population of 650 million and an extremely fast growing middle class, Southeast Asia is fast becoming a battleground for many brands. Most are choosing to penetrate and explore the market via cross-border ecommerce, as it requires the least cost and risk. However, this may not be the best for customer experience, especially with erratic customs practices and regulations (except Singapore and, to some extent, Malaysia).
US requests WTO to allow retaliation against Indonesia Lexology 10th Aug 2018
On August 2, 2018, the United States delegation to the WTO notified the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that The United States considers that Indonesia has failed to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in the dispute Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals, and Animal Products (DS478). Pursuant to Article 22.2 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), the United States requested authorization from the DSB to suspend concessions or other obligations with respect to Indonesia at an annual level based on a formula commensurate with the trade effects caused to the interests of the United States by the failure of Indonesia to comply with the recommendations of the DSB.
New Regulation on Business Identification Numbers for Excisable Goods Hukum Online 8th Aug 2018
The Minister of Finance (“Minister”) has issued Regulation No. 66/PMK.04/2018 on Procedures for the Granting, Suspension and Revocation of Business Identification Numbers for Excisable Goods (“Regulation 66/2018”).
API Integration into the OSS System Hukum Online 8th Aug 2018
The Minister of Trade (“Minister”) has issued Regulation No. 75 of 2018 on Importer Identification Numbers (“Regulation 75/2018”), which is an implementing regulation for Regulation of Government No. 24 of 2018 on the Electronically Integrated Business Licensing Service (“Regulation 24/2018”).
Indonesia Lobbies US for Aluminum Duty Exemption Tempo 8th Aug 2018
Enggartiasto said America charges 25 percent duty for aluminum import. "I told them that our market share in America is only 0.23 percent, and [our product] is not made in America, and is used by the American industry, including Boeing," he said.
Indonesia lobbies to maintain special tariff treatment Reuters 5th Aug 2018
Indonesia lobbied visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to keep the Southeast Asian nation on a list of countries that receive preferential trade terms, its foreign and trade ministers said on Sunday. “President Joko Widodo has delivered Indonesia’s hope that the U.S. will maintain the country’s GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) facility,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after meeting Pompeo.
Laos announces adoption of new Asean tariff code The Nation 23rd Aug 2018
According to the announcement, posted on the Lao Trade Portal, an official website that provides information on trade services, Laos has put into practice the Asean Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature 2017 since May.
Service Tax Bill 2018 passed by Dewan Rakyat Hemananthani Sivanandam Martin Carvalho Rahimy Rahim & Loshana K Shagar 8th Aug 2018
The Service Tax Bill 2018 was passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Aug 8) without much hassle, unlike the Sales Tax Bill 2018 the day before. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Service Tax would be beneficial to the rakyat, unlike the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which was a burden. With the abolishing of GST, Lim said local and state governments can now benefit, as they no longer need to pay the 6% tax for projects. “Before this, any road project, even longkang (drainage) upgrading projects would need have the 6% added.
Smooth sailing for SST Bills The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
The Bills on the Sales and Service Tax (SST) sailed through the Dewan Negara, which is majority-controlled by the opposition, without hiccups, paving the way for the return of SST on Sept 1. The latest development put to rest fears that the Bills tabled by the Pakatan Harapan-led government could be delayed at the upper House.
Malaysia reviewing national automotive policy, may impose curbs on car imports: PM Mahathir The Straits Times 30th Jul 2018
The Malaysian government is reviewing the national automotive policy, which may include imposing conditions on the import of foreign vehicles. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in Parliament on Monday (July 30) that while the government agrees with the practice of free trade, other countries worldwide impose conditions for their own markets.
Malaysia should ratify CPTPP for new economic opportunities BorneoPost Online 26th Jul 2018
Malaysia should ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as the pact is the best platform for local companies to access economic opportunities in a new region, says Mexican Ambassador to Malaysia. The envoy said he encouraged newly-minted International Trade and Industries Minister Darell Leiking and Malaysia to ratify the CPTPP, a revision of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which the United States withdrew from in January 2017.
Chinese demand for Myanmar cotton could surge on trade war with US The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
China has imported cotton from the US for the past 10 years. Last month though, US President Donald Trump imposed $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, which includes agriculture. That sparked the ongoing trade war between the two countries, with China retaliating by slapping tariffs on agriculture imports from the US. Now, China is interested in importing Myanmar cotton, said U Aung Myint, secretary of the Cotton Product Merchant and Manufacturers Association. “Despite being able to also import cotton from India as an alternative to the US, China has offered to buy from Myanmar instead because we do not charge import duties on cotton yet,” he said.
A dozen customs officials charged after bribery complaint The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
The commission on Monday said the allegations against the customs officials under the Ministry of Planning and Finance were true. They were charged under Section 56/63 of the 2013 Anti-Corruption Commission law. Since taking office as president, U Win Myint announced that he will effectively crack down on corrupt government officials.
Falling kyat value hurting trade, widens deficit The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
While the dearer exchange rate will likely have an impact on imports and inflation as petrol, raw materials and consumer goods become more expensive, exporters should stand to gain. Yet, businesses involved in exporting say this isn’t the case. One reason is businesses must import require materials to add value to the finished product, so the higher value of the dollar eats into production costs anyway, said U Hnin Oo, vice chair of the Myanmar Shrimp Association.
Border zone with China to go ahead The Myanmar Times 17th Jul 2018
The discussions were carried out last week by the implementation body with priority made between Kachin and Shan states as they share the border with China, the ministry said. “There are some suitable locations both in Kachin and Shan states. The talks were about which one to prioritise and which one follows which,” he said.
BOC to craft order on regulation of foreign shipping lines PortCalls Asia 23rd Aug 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a team that will draft a customs administrative order (CAO) on the registration and regulation of international shipping lines calling the Philippines. “We will have a separate customs administrative order which will deal specifically with regulation and registration of shipping lines,” BOC Port of Manila deputy collector for Operations Atty. Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang said in a speech during the Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines general membership meeting on August 18.
BOC chief continues to enjoy President's confidence amid shabu shipment issue PortCalls Asia 13th Aug 2018
Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña still has President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust even after a shipment of illegal drugs potentially worth P6.8 billion worth may have apparently slipped past Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel. “May tiwala siya kay General Lapeña, may tiwala siya sa PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency]. Inaasahan niya na magkakaroon nang mas malapit na ugnayan ang PDEA at Bureau of Customs dahil nanggaling naman po sa PDEA itong si General Lapeña (The President trusts General Lapeña, also the PDEA. He [the President] expects closer coordination between PDEA and BOC, considering General Lapeña also came from PDEA [before being appointed BOC chief]),” Roque said in a press briefing on August 13.
PH Customs' GPS system for containers in-transit now on its dry run PortCalls Asia 12th Aug 2018
The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) is pilot-testing a GPS-based container tracking system to make sure containers in transit are transferred only to the designated container yard/container freight stations (CY/CFS), and Philippine Economic Zone Authority locations. The Electronic Transit Cargo Monitoring System (ETCMS), or i-Track, is a web-based application using a GPS-lock system that allows BOC to track movements of containers, Management Information and Technology Group (MISTG) officer-in-charge deputy commissioner Jeffrey Ian Dy told Asia Customs & Trade in an interview.
Customs to open thousands of abandoned containers after shabu discovery philstar 11th Aug 2018
The Bureau of Customs has ordered the opening of all abandoned containers at the Manila International Container Port and Port of Manila following the back-to-back discovery of tons of shabu that slipped through the agency. “At present, I have directed the opening of all abandoned containers in MICP and other ports. Baka sakaling meron pa naiwan dyan,” Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña said in a press conference.
BOC to replace advanced manifest system with WCO version PortCalls Asia 8th Aug 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is set to introduce a new system to replace its advanced manifest system (AMS), whose implementation is currently on hold due to issues raised by stakeholders. The BOC took note of concerns raised by stakeholders on the AMS, especially the requirement to scan the documents and convert them to PDF copies. Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, in a memorandum last May 29, ordered the AMS suspended following only a few weeks of implementation, in the interest of service and “to further test the readiness” of the system.
Enhanced Goods Declaration Verification System effective Aug 2 PortCalls Asia 23rd Jul 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will roll out on Aug 2 the Enhanced Goods Declaration Verification System (eGDVS) also known as “1-Assessment” initially at the ports of Subic, Clark and Batangas. Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 10-2018, the guidelines for implementing EGDVS, was signed by Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña on July 12.
BOC takes lead in forming multiagency unit on port issues PortCalls Asia 20th Jul 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is spearheading the creation of an interagency body composed of government agencies and port stakeholders and users that will address issues hounding the private sector. The proposal to create an interagency body followed a two-day port users’ summit conducted by BOC that tackled issues affecting stakeholders and that came up with proposed solutions.
Philippines, United Kingdom eyeing talks on bilateral free trade despite Brexit Manila Standard 16th Jul 2018
The Philippines and the United Kingdom are preparing for a bilateral free trade partnership despite the latter’s decision to leave the European Union. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Monday, Manila and London would hold preparatory meetings for the bilateral framework. He said the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the Philippines led by Ambassador Daniel Pruce started its own preparation for the talks. “They appreciate the strong campaigns of government on anti-competition policies, ease of doing business, regulatory reforms, and MSME [micro, small and medium enterprises] training,” said Lopez.
House passes rice tariffication bill CNN 14th Aug 2018
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — The House of Representatives has passed a bill lifting limits to rice imports and replacing it with a general tariff. Two hundred lawmakers passed House Bill 7735, or the proposed Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act, on third and final reading Tuesday. Only seven voted against, while two abstained. President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned the bill as a priority during his State of the Nation Address.
Customs creates task force to lead preparations for fuel marking system BusinessMirror 6th Aug 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a task force to oversee the preparation of the fuel marking system or the implementation of the anti-oil smuggling scheme, a key plank of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. Pursuant to Customs Special Order (CSO) 49-2018, the Fuel Marking Task Force, chaired by the bureau’s Enforcement Group and cochaired by its Intelligence Group, shall formulate and prepare relevant administrative issuances subject to the approval of the customs commissioner or the secretary of finance.
BOC launching ‘1-Assessment’ to curb corruption Manila Bulletin News 20th Jul 2018
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will launch and implement an electronic system that operates with lesser human intervention in the declaration of imported goods next month to weed out irregularities and corruption. The Enhanced Goods Declaration Verification System (EGDVS), also known as ‘1-Assessment,’ will be launched August 2, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena said.
Singapore and Mercosur start free trade talks The Straits Times 25th Jul 2018
Singapore and South American customs union Mercosur have started negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), officials announced on Monday on the sidelines of the 13th Pacific Alliance Summit held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mercosur comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with a collective market of more than 260 million people and a gross domestic product of US$2.5 trillion (S$3.4 trillion).
Cross-Border Trade Streamlined for Businesses Between Australia-Singapore and Australia-Canada Lexology 18th Jul 2018
Businesses in Singapore and Australia will have increased opportunities for streamlined trade under a new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) that was signed on 31 May 2018. This will create better access to global markets for businesses participating in the Australian Trusted Traders (ATT) program or Singaporean Secure Trade Partnership (STP) program.
Singapore ratifies CPTPP trade deal to become 3rd nation to do so after Mexico and Japan The Business Times 19th Jul 2018
Singapore has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), becoming the third nation to do so after Mexico and Japan. The Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement on Thursday that the CPTPP is a high-quality agreement that will reduce market barriers as well as foster trade in a combined market of 500 million people with a gross domestic product of US$10 trillion (S$13 trillion).
New Customs Act to transform Thailand into regional distribution hub Pattaya Mail 26th Jul 2018
The Thai Chamber of Commerce has held a seminar to raise awareness about the new Customs Act B.E. 2560 among Thai importers and exporters to ensure they have correct understanding. The seminar aimed to educate import and export business operators about certain changes made to the customs law, particularly regarding a duty free zone. The Customs Act now recognizes areas where imported goods are waiting to be shipped to third country duty free zones, hoping to promote Thailand as a regional trading and distribution hub.
Tax boss targets online shopping The Nation 23rd Aug 2018
The Customs Department has stepped up its tax collection for online shopping and provided more convenient services for taxpayers, Kulit Sombatsiri, director general of the Customs Department, said on Thursday. E-shopping for foreign goods had led to tariff collection worth about Bt5 million every month, he said.
Bans on Imported Waste Continue in Southeast Asia Lexology 20th Aug 2018
On August 16, 2018, Reuters reported that Thailand plans to ban imports of a variety of scrap electronics within the next six months and recycled plastic within the next two years. The Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Kanchanarat, cites environmental and health concerns as the reason for the ban.
Thailand scraps new economic zones and plans regional linkups Nikkei Asian Review 15th Aug 2018
The Thai government is revamping its special economic zone strategy and pushing for links with those in neighboring countries, hoping to improve access within the region and secure tariff-free entrance for its goods into the European Union. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak recently said government agencies are drafting plans to develop some border areas, with the goals of boosting exports and providing jobs to narrow the urban-rural inequality gap.
Border economies expected to retain high volumes Bangkok Post 25th Jul 2018
Thailand's border trade remains on course for healthy growth after rising 6.8% year-on-year in the first half of the year amid higher demand for Thai goods. According to Wanchai Varavithya, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, overall border trade, including transit trade, amounted to 679 billion baht in the first half. Transit trade comprises businesses connected with the passage of goods through a country to their destination.
Striving for safer passage of goods Bangkok Post 22nd Jul 2018
The European Union (EU) has commissioned Thailand to conduct training workshops for the transportation of dangerous goods in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), as part of a move to get the entire sub-region to adopt United Nations-based safety regulations for road-based logistics operations.
Vietnam pilots new import-export customs procedures Asia Customs & Trade 22nd Aug 2018
The General Department of Vietnam Customs has announced the conduct this month of test runs for new customs procedures on imported and exported goods at a number of the agency’s customs branches. In a statement August 20, the agency said the piloting of the new customs processes for exported and imported products is in line with the implementation of the latest relevant regulations from the Ministry of Finance.
New process for inspection, consultation and customs valuation VietlawOnline 16th Jul 2018
This process only applies to consignments subject to documentary inspection, physical inspection. One of the new points of this process is the separation between order of, procedures for, inspection, consultation and customs valuation with regard to goods without and without sales contracts.
Vietnam to restrict import of scrap VietNamNet 6th Aug 2018
The General Department of Viet Nam Customs (CGD) will study and submit to the Ministry of Finance a proposal to the Government to restrict imports of scrap materials and move towards a ban on scrap imports to Vietnam. According to Au Anh Tuan, acting director of the Customs Supervision and Management Department, after China banned the import of 24 types of scrap, the amount imported to Vietnam in 2017 and the first five months of 2018 has increased. Additionally, some enterprises had forged scrap import permits.
Vietnam makes effort to reduce logistics costs Vietnam Net 25th Jul 2018
Since the start of his term, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has consistently emphasised the goal of perfecting the institutions, of which comprehensive administrative reform is a part. And such a bold resolve has exerted a positive impact on the economy. Vietnam’s logistics costs are equivalent to 20.9% of its GDP. In 2017 Vietnam’s total export-import value reached over US$400 billion for the first time, with exports up by more than 20%. In the first half of 2018, exports were estimated at nearly US$114 billion, up 16% over the same period of last year, while imports also rose by 10% to over US$111 billion.
Hà Nội promotes modernisation of warehouse management in customs process vietnamnews.vn 25th Jul 2018
The Customs Department of Hà Nội has been implementing solutions to remove difficulties and promote modern management of warehouse and customs clearance sites. According to the department, 24 out of 31 warehouses managed by the department have not reached requirements on business conditions for tax-exemption goods, warehouses and places of customs clearance, inspection and supervision.
MoIT will submit CPTPP for approval by year-end Việt Nam News 20th Jul 2018
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is preparing necessary documents to submit the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to the National Assembly for approval by the end of this year. This information was provided by Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang during the regular press conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 19.