U.S. Companies Explore Expanded Cooperation with ASEAN's Customs Authorities

(Langkawi) - The US-ASEAN Business Council joined the 27th Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs in Malaysia this week, from May 2-3. The meeting is part of almost 20 years of engagement between the Council and the 10 ASEAN Directors-General of Customs which has examined ways to improve trade connections in Southeast Asia. The Council’s delegation of nine top U.S. companies is led by Senior Vice-President and Regional Managing Director of the Council, Amb. Michael Michalak, as well as Chair of the Council’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee and Vice President of Public Affairs for UPS, Shiumei Lin.

“We at the Council are glad to see both the high priority ASEAN has placed on reducing barriers to trade and their continued extensive engagement with the private sector on these issues,” said Amb. Michalak. “This year, we hope to find more ways U.S. companies can help ASEAN’s customs agencies advance their agenda of both promoting trade and protecting borders.”

During the consultation, the delegation exchanged views with the Directors-General on how ASEAN Customs can collaborate closer with business to respond to evolving patterns of regional supply chains. The Council proposed a deeper partnership with ASEAN Customs to tackle challenges faced by border agencies as a result of the surge in cross-border e-Commerce volume, seeking a range of solutions from simplification and facilitation, to public education, and technology. Council Members also discussed deeper cooperation with ASEAN Customs to support brand protection and counter illicit trade.  

“The Council’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee is excited to be at the forefront of discussions with ASEAN Customs on effective border management in the digital age. We recognize that e-Commerce has created new growth opportunities on the one hand but on the other hand created new challenges for border agencies, and we resolve to support solutions that are not only pro-business but also sustainable”, said Shiumei Lin. “UPS and the Committee’s membership look forward to working with ASEAN Customs to facilitate trade for low-value shipments, enhance trade compliance through public awareness efforts, and jointly explore current and emerging technology solutions to harness the power of data for risk management purposes.”    

The delegation also held sideline meetings with the Customs Directors-General and other leaders from the region to discuss trade and investment trade and investment issues. Companies participating in the delegation included Amazon, BowerGroupAsia, FedEx Express, Intel Corporation, Philip Morris International, Procter & Gamble, Seagate Technology, Smiths Detection, and UPS.

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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.