What is behind India and ASEAN's decision to review a 2010 FTA agreement? ASEAN Today 17th Oct 2019
At a meeting between Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN member states and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India in Bangkok last month, ASEAN members agreed to India’s request to review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA). The intention is to simplify the FTA, which came into effect in 2010, by making it more user-friendly and facilitate Business-to-business (B2B) trade. A Joint Committee will be set up to initiate the review and officials tasked to work on the details of the review are expected to submit an update at the 17th AEM-India Consultations.
Asean nations to exchange trade documents via ASW by year-end BusinessMirror 14th Oct 2019
The Philippines and seven other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will exchange customs and trade-related documents over a platform that is intended to facilitate cargo clearance and economic integration of Asean countries by year-end.
Trade ministers of 16 RCEP countries conclude crucial meeting in Bangkok Business Standard 13th Oct 2019
The crucial meeting of trade ministers of 16 RCEPcountries, including India and China, was concluded on October 12 in Bangkok, an official said. They took stock of the negotiations, which are in the last phase, the official said. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyalattended the RCEP(Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) Ministerial meeting. This was the last ministerial-level meeting as only a few issues like rules of origin are pending for finalisation. There was no joint statement issued after the conclusion of this ninth ministerial meet.
SE Asia’s growth slowing more than expected—ADB report Asia Customs & Trade 27th Sep 2019
Southeast Asia’s economic growth has slowed more than earlier anticipated, leading to the subregion’s growth forecast for this year and the next to be revised down, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2019 Update, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) flagship economic publication. Growth forecast is revised downward from 4.9% to 4.5% for this year and from 5.0% to 4.7% for next year as the subregion is hard hit by persistent trade friction between China and the US, slowing world trade, and weakening global growth, said the update. Forecasts are downgraded for half of the 10 economies—Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand—and unchanged for the other half, with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam on track to meet earlier forecasts.
Pact between Hong Kong, ASEAN offers investment protection Vantage Asia 18th Sep 2019
The agreement on investment among the governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) introduces investment protection and transfer guarantees for investments between Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong from 17 June 2019.
ASEAN NTMs database seen to enhance reg’l trade environment Asia Customs & Trade 18th Sep 2019
The newly released Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) Database for ASEAN and East Asia is expected to contribute to an improved trade environment in the region, especially for exporters and small enterprises. On September 10, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), an international organization that conducts research and makes policy recommendations for further economic integration in East Asia, officially handed to ASEAN the revised NTM database, updated from the first one launched in 2016. The institute collaborated with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to collect and classify NTMs in the 10 ASEAN member countries plus the six East Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India). The data collection covered all regulations from official documents including international conventions adopted by these countries. A total of 28,947 measures were classified, 6,699 regulations were coded, and up to 11,347 product lines were covered.
Brunei to corporatize postal services by 2020 Xinhua 9th Oct 2019
Following the privatization of ports operations in 2017, the Sultanate is now set to corporatize its postal services by 2020 to strengthen and diversify the country's value-added products and services.
Brunei stops accepting visa applications of workers from Bangladesh New Age | The Most Popular Outspoken English Daily in Bangladesh 11th Sep 2019
Since August 4, the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam in Dhaka temporarily stopped accepting visa applications of workers from Bangladesh. The high commission had notified that it temporarily stopped accepting the visa applications of Bangladeshi workers. Brunei took the decision after it found the involvement of some companies in Brunei in manufacturing fake job visas for the worker of Bangladesh, officials in the two capitals told New Age.
Survey: Cambodian passport one of the least travel-friendly in the world Khmer Times 7th Oct 2019
While a booming economy and bigger incomes provide them more and better opportunities to travel abroad, it is not all good news for Cambodian passport holders. Cambodia’s passport continues to be one of the least travel-friendly in the world, ranking near the bottom in the latest survey released by Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residency advisory firm. From 87 in 2018, Cambodia’s ranking dropped one spot to 88 in the 2019 Hensley Passport Index, with visa-free/visa on arrival access to only 53 countries and territories worldwide. Last year, Cambodians have visa-free access to 54 destinations. In addition to Asean countries, Cambodians can travel visa-free or with visa on arrival to 44 other countries, mostly in Africa, the Caribbean, Oceania, South America, and Central America.
South Korea and Indonesia Agree Trade Deal The Maritime Executive 17th Oct 2019
South Korea and Indonesia have reached a preliminary trade deal equivalent to a free trade agreement but also including broader economic cooperation. The agreement is expected to help boost trade between the two nations by nearly 50 percent by 2022.
Indonesia: Indonesia issues a flurry of tax-related regulations International Tax Review 15th Oct 2019
The Indonesian government, through the Minister of Finance (MoF), issued Regulation 116/PMK.04/2019 (PMK-116) on August 13 2019. This regulation concerns the exemption from or relief on import duty and/or exemption from VAT on imported goods as regards contracts of work or coal mining enterprise work agreements. Through the issuance of PMK-116, the previous regulation, PMK-259/PMK.04/2016, is revoked and rendered invalid. The essence of PMK-116 can be summarised as follows. The MoF provides a facility for exemption from or relief on import duties on imported goods and/or exemption of VAT on imports of taxable goods (BKP) in the framework of contracts of work (KK) or work agreements between the government and coal mining entrepreneurs (PKP2B) conducted by contractors that meet the required criteria as set out in Table 1.
Indonesia to tighten textile import rules following influx of goods: official Reuters 15th Oct 2019
Indonesia’s Trade Ministry will tighten restrictions on textile imports in an effort to protect local industries, an official told reporters on Friday. The ministry will require all textile importers to gain approval from the government before they can ship in textile goods, foreign trade director general Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana said. The revision to regulations is targeted to be issued before President Joko Widodo, who takes office for the second term on Oct. 20, appoints new cabinet ministers, he said.
Malaysia to propose new water tariff to Singapore Nikkei Asian Review 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia will submit a revised price for raw water sales to Singapore, as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government pushes ahead with its effort to change the terms of a half-century-long agreement between the neighbors. The proposed change to the 1962 Johore River Water Agreement has been a point of contention between Malaysia and Singapore, due to differing interpretations of the price-revision period in the pact. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mahathir have agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration if discussions reach an impasse.
Nine companies blacklisted for misappropriation of vehicle import APs The Edge Markets 10th Oct 2019
Nine companies have been blacklisted after a compliance audit was conducted for alleged offences related to misappropriation of vehicle import licence (AP), for the period 2017 to 2018, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking. He said the compliance audit covered the entire import process until the vehicle was sold and registered, in addition to ensuring that Open APs holding companies complied with the existing guidelines. “The Ministry has been conducting regular compliance audits since 2009 to ensure that AP abuse is resolved,” he said.
MITI continues anti-dumping duties on fibre cement board products from Thailand The Edge Markets 24th Sep 2019
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has decided to continue the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports of cellulose fibre reinforced cement flat and pattern sheets (FCB) from Thailand for five more years.
Malaysia Adopts US Electronic Data System to Track Suspected Terrorists BenarNews 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia is developing a new immigration system to incorporate the screening of passenger data in preventing terrorists from entering or leaving the country, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.
Are Malaysia’s illegal workers heading home for good? South China Morning Post 16th Sep 2019
*Video* The Malaysian government has created a new programme that promises to allow undocumented workers to return to their home countries without fear of prosecution. Often from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar, many have expired or invalid work visas that place them at risk of being exploited by employers. Thousands have reportedly already signed up for the “Back for Good” scheme, which will be open until the end of 2019.
Nepal, Malaysia start talks on labour pact The Himalayan Times 11th Sep 2019
Against the backdrop of the government failing to resume issuing work permits to Malaysia-bound Nepali workers, a two-day joint working group (JWG) meeting of officials from both countries started in Kuala Lumpur today.
PHL makes new request to reduce Japan banana tariffs Business World 17th Oct 2019
Thr Philippines has reiterated its request to Japan to lower tariff imposed on Philippine bananas, the Agriculture department said. “I would like to request your support for the preferential tariff rate of 0% for Philippine bananas in Japan, which currently imposes 18% tariff during the winter season and 8% during the summer,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar was quoted as saying in a statement. The Philippines and Japan held a bilateral meetings on the matter on Oct. 16.
Customs collections up by 9.2% to P477.5B as of end-September inquirer.net 17th Oct 2019
Duties on imported rice helped boost the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) tax take, which grew 12.4 percent to P58.9 billion in September. Preliminary data from the BOC’s financial service released on Wednesday showed that import duties and other taxes collected by the country’s second-biggest revenue agency (after the Bureau of Internal Revenue) climbed from P52.4 billion in September last year.
Philippines joining ASEAN Single Window platform by year-end philstar.com 14th Oct 2019
The Philippines is expected to join by the end of the year an integrated online platform which seeks to ease trade and customs processes within the Southeast Asian region, the Department of Finance (DOF) said over the weekend.
Higher rice tariffs now up to Cabinet Econ cluster Manila Bulletin Business 12th Oct 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will no longer come up with a decision on the study it supposedly did to identify whether the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203 has indeed caused injury to the local rice sector. Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the result of the study would have served as the basis of the DA to impose safeguard measures versus the increasing amount of imported rice entering the country. If implemented, the safeguard measures would have also been the agency’s boldest move to address the declining price of palay.
Guidelines for foreign workers in the Philippines BusinessWorld 9th Oct 2019
The Department of Tourism (DoT) reported a 7.59% increase in tourist arrivals to the Philippines in the first quarter. This increase translates to around 2,204,564 foreign visitors from January to March 2019. However, not all foreign visitors travel around the country strictly for leisure. A segment of the tourist market also visits the country for business or employment. For instance, non-visa required nationals (such as Americans, Australians, Japanese, etc.) enjoy a 30-day visa waiver. Apart from tourism, they are allowed entry into the country for business-related activity or for the eventual assumption of duties related to work activities. With the influx of foreign workers, the government is seeking to tighten its rules on issuance of work permits. Setting stringent regulations in place, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) circularized the Joint Guidelines on the issuance of employment permits to foreign nationals on May 1.
Philippine manufacturing output continues to decline in August Xinhua 4th Oct 2019
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday that the performance of manufacturing production in the Philippines continued to decline in August, the eighth consecutive month during which the total manufacturing indices are on the decline. In its Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI), the PSA said year-on-year growth of the volume of production index (VoPI) declined by 9.3 percent while the value of production index (VaPI) contracted by 7.9 percent in August. The PSA said the weak performance of heavily weighted petroleum products, furniture and fixtures, transport equipment, electrical machinery, beverages, and miscellaneous manufactures accounted for the contraction in manufacturing.
JAPAN AND SINGAPORE HAVE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL PASSPORTS The Independent 1st Oct 2019
Singapore and Japan have topped a ranking of the world’s strongest passports. The two Asian countries both offer access to 190 destinations without needing a visa in advance. Compiled by residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the world’s passports based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the firm’s research department. The quarterly index primarily rates travel documents based on how many countries they allow access too, either visa-free or by only needing to get a visa on arrival (rather than in advance).
Singapore, Australia begin talks on digital economy pact ZDNet 14th Oct 2019
Singapore and Australia have kicked off negotiations on a new digital trade pact that aims to drive "greater connectivity" and bilateral economic relations. Trade ministers from both nations have signed off on the scope of the cooperation, which they say encompass various areas including fintech, digital identity, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital trade enablement.
Blockchain easing customs process Bangkok Post 29th Aug 2019
The Customs Department is the second government agency in Asean to adopt a blockchain-based shipment tracking and information sharing platform to streamline procedures. The department is working with IBM Thailand Co and logistics provider Maersk on the adoption of the platform, called TradeLens, which will support the Thailand 4.0 policy. Already introduced in Singapore, TradeLens is a digital trade platform that enables efficient and accurate container tracking and information sharing among platform members. .
Customs eager to extend pre-arrival processing Bangkok Post 28th Aug 2019
The Customs Department intends to extend Pre-Arrival Processing (PAP) service, which transmits customs declarations and import documents to customs authorities electronically before the goods arrive in the destination country for cross-border land transport. The PAP streamlines customs processes, facilitates trade and will help raise the country's ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business survey, said Krisada Chinavicharana, director-general of the department. The department launched PAP for shippers earlier this year.
ASEM customs agencies adopt action plan for 2020-2021 vietnamnews.vn 11th Oct 2019
The 13th ASEM Customs Directors-General/Commissioners’ Meeting ended on Thursday in the northern Vietnamese province of Quảng Ninh’s Hạ Long City, with the approval of the ASEM customs action plan for 2020-21. The two-day event - the first of its kind hosted by the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) - brought together 53 delegations from customs agencies of member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union (EU) and embassies of ASEM member countries in Việt Nam.
HCM City, EuroCham talk EVFTA implementation VietnamPlus 9th Oct 2019
A dialogue between the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department and the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam took place in Ho Chi Minh City on October 9 to discuss the implementation of the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). It was the fourth consecutive year that the event was held, attracting representatives from over 200 outstanding businesses from EuroCham and countries that are working in Vietnam. Speaking at the event, head of the department Dinh Ngoc Thang said the sector is ready with EVFTA implementation by adopting a modern management system, facilitating exports-imports, and effectively fighting counterfeits.
Vietnam to slap antidumping tariff on aluminum from China The Saigon Times 2nd Oct 2019
Vietnam will impose an official antidumping duty on some aluminum products from China from October 4, the local media quoted the Ministry of Industry and Trade as saying in a statement on September 28. The antidumping tariff ranges from 2.49% to 35.58% on some extruded aluminum bar imports from China. As many as 16 Chinese producers had earlier been investigated as part of an antidumping probe in January.
Removal of technical barriers sends CBU auto imports skyrocketing The Saigon Times 2nd Oct 2019
Vietnam spent US$260 million importing an estimated 13,000 completely-built-up (CBU) automobiles last month, up 38% in volume and 24% in value month-on-month. The massive influx of CBU automobiles into the country is attributable to the removal of technical barriers imposed on these imports. The country recorded high sales of imported vehicles with up to nine seats, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. During the first nine months of the year, some 109,000 cars worth US$2.4 billion were imported to Vietnam, up over 150% in both volume and value against last year’s figure.
EVFTA to protect nation’s IP rights VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 2nd Oct 2019
Vietnam has made various high-level commitments under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), one of which is the challenging area of intellectual property rights (IPR), according to Vice chairman of Eurocham Vietnam Nguyen Hai Minh. In June, Vietnam and the EU signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), ending a long negotiation with a historic milestone in the long-standing partnership between the two economies. Firms and citizens of both the EU and Vietnam will enjoy not only tariff deductions but also plenty of non-tariff relief in trade. More importantly, this is a big step moving forward for the EU to assure and strengthen its partnership with Southeast Asia, as well as for Vietnam to speed up its long-term integration into the global economy.
Việt Nam tightens imports of outdated machines vietnamnews.vn 2nd Oct 2019
he General Department of Customs will not process import procedures for outdated machinery and equipment to enter Việt Nam, said the department on September 18. The department requested officials in the provincial and municipal branches not to carry out customs procedures for expired machinery, equipment and technological chains from other countries.
Bến Tre urged to meet high standards set by EU trade agreement vietnamnews.vn 2nd Oct 2019
Improving product competitiveness will help the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre take full advantage of the lower tariffs to be offered under the EU–Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), experts said at a seminar in the province on Friday. Bùi Thanh Sơn, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “Bến Tre has one of the highest development rates in the country, with advantages in tourism and agricultural exports.” Under the EVFTA, signed on June 30 in Hà Nội, more than 99 per cent of tariffs on goods from both sides will eventually be removed over a 10-year period. The EVFTA is expected to be approved by the European Parliament early next year.
Việt Nam, US establish comprehensive energy cooperation partnership vietnamnews.vn 2nd Oct 2019
Việt Nam and the US have set up a comprehensive energy cooperation partnership under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in Washington on September 30. The document was inked by representatives of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the US Department of State during a working trip to the US from September 30 to October 2 by a MoIT delegation. The MoU is an important milestone in energy collaboration between the two countries, opening up a new chapter of more intensive and comprehensive cooperation. The document covers various cooperation areas in the energy sector, ranging from energy security, energy market development and energy transformation to relevant regulations and policies, energy management and energy technology and infrastructure, including the role of public-private cooperation.
Vietnam's exports to U.S. at record high The Saigon Times 30th Sep 2019
Vietnam exported US$44.9 billion worth of goods to the United States, its largest buyer, in the first nine months of 2019, making up 23.1% of the total export revenue and setting a new record for the country. The export revenue over the nine-month period this year is nearly equal to the figure in all of 2018, at US$47.5 billion, according to statistics from the General Statistics Office. Statistics indicate that the revenue from shipments bound for the United States between January and September rose by 28.2% year-on-year, marking the highest rise among the increases seen on Vietnam’s import markets, including Japan at 10%, South Korea at 8.1% and the ASEAN market at 4.7%.
NASC discusses decree on customs procedures Vietnam News 18th Sep 2019
Customs procedures for shipments in and out of Viet Nam could be about to get a lot easier. A draft decree on regulations for customs procedures, inspection and supervision for transit goods via the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) was submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) yesterday. The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Transit Goods was signed by ASEAN members in 1998, aiming to facilitate goods in transit, create an ASEAN free trade area and boost regional economic integration. Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/politics-laws/535558/nasc-discusses-decree-on-cust...
Why Vietnam Has Become A Battleground For Corporate Governance Standards Forbes 18th Sep 2019
This influx of foreign companies into Vietnam, however, with vastly different approaches to corporate governance, has set the stage for a clash of standards and business practices. Vietnam has become a microcosm of conflicting corporate governance models, especially between China and the West. Going forward, who will be the rule-makers and rule-takers in Vietnam? Hanoi has been struggling to keep up with infrastructure needs and capacity-building efforts, but enforcing a progressive framework of rules worthy of Vietnam’s latest rounds of free-trade agreements will pose an even more difficult task. As a signatory to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Hanoi has committed to abiding by and enforcing a host of “next generation” FTA rules which include, among other things, labor rights, environmental standards and intellectual property protection. Vietnam’s current business landscape, however, will struggle to achieve the capacity-building and standards required for the EU-Vietnam FTA or CPTPP rules frameworks.
Asanzo cleared of origin fraud: VCCI Vietnam News Agency 31st Aug 2019
Asanzo Group did not commit origin fraud when it slapped the 'Made in Vietnam' label on its products, said a task force from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) yesterday. The group was found to have complied with the country’s existing laws and regulation on product origin, said Vũ Kim Hạnh, head of the VCCI task force. They concluded Asanzo products were correctly labelled 'Made in Vietnam' because they were assembled in Việt Nam with some parts imported from outside the country. The task force did not make any comment on the quality of the products.
Imports stuck at border gates due to new Chinese rules Vietnam News Agency 23rd Aug 2019
China's sudden application of the new C/O (certificate of origin) form E has left lots of goods imported from China stuck at Lạng Sơn Province's border gates since August 20, according to Lạng Sơn Customs Department. Vy Công Tường, Deputy Director of Lạng Sơn Customs Department, told Hải quan (Customs) newspaper that on August 20, many enterprises implemented customs procedures at the customs sub-departments at the Hữu Nghị and Tân Thanh border gates with the new form. The new version is inconsistent with regulations in Circular 36/2010/TT-BCT issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).