Business Council Encourages ASEAN to Continue Improvements in Customs Procedure

(Siam Reap, Cambodia) The US-ASEAN Business Council held its annual consultation with the ASEAN Customs Directors-General (DGs) today to discuss customs issues impacting US companies in the region. Members of the Council made a series of presentations at the session covering issues related to Supply Chain Security, Advance Rulings on Classification, Trade Facilitation and other customs related issues. Led by Andrew Jackson, Chairman of the newly formed Customs Working Group, the Council delegation included representatives from General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, PricewaterhouseCoopers and UPS.

The Council has been engaged in a consultation with the Directors-General for a number of years, and places tremendous value in the consultations. "The US-ASEAN Business Council is very excited to continue to have the opportunity to meet with the ASEAN Custom's Director General's. Efficient customs clearance is critical to the day-to-day operations of international businesses in the ASEAN region and key to maintaining the competitiveness of the ASEAN region. The Council and our members remain committed partners to supporting ASEAN's efforts to strengthen existing custom's practices and procedures", said Mr. Jackson, who is also the Government Programs Executive for IBM Australia.

In addition to the annual consultation, the Council delegation had bilateral meetings with senior customs officials from Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam and the ASEAN Secretariat.

ASEAN is the third largest overseas market for U.S. exports, and two-way U.S.-ASEAN trade totaled US$148 billion in 2005. ASEAN customs administrations have a central role to play in ensuring that the market for goods and services and two-way trade continue to grow and expand.

Formed in 2005, the Customs Working Group already has over 20 members. The Group focuses on the elimination of trade barriers and the promotion of trade facilitation in the ASEAN region through concrete proposals and activities.

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.