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

Singapore - The US-ASEAN Business Council joined the 29th Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs for a virtual discussion on August 19. The meeting is part of 23-year long engagement between the Council and the 10 ASEAN Directors-General of Customs that has examined ways to improve trade connections in Southeast Asia. The Council’s delegation of four 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.

“The US-ASEAN Business Council is pleased to see the high priority placed on improving cross-border e-commerce, and we confirm our commitment to serving as a partner in the COVID-19 economic recovery process. We are eager to strengthen cooperation between the private sector and ASEAN Customs,” said Ambassador Michalak. “An efficient and accessible customs regime that can enable ASEAN economies to bounce forward while promoting increased trade will be critical to the success of the ASEAN Economic Community.”


During the consultation, the delegation exchanged views with the Directors-General on how ASEAN Customs can collaborate more closely 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 impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains and the emerging trends of cross-border e-commerce. Council Members also discussed deeper cooperation with ASEAN Customs on re-thinking the future of customs in ASEAN.


“The COVID 19 crisis taught us all important lessons. Border agencies must accelerate efforts to support seamless and contactless clearance, do more to promote collaboration across supply chains, and turbo-charge the eCommerce agenda. We must make cross-border eCommerce work for everyone,” said Shiumei Lin. “We look forward to working with ASEAN Customs to further develop eCommerce initiatives such as the ASEAN Low Value Shipments Program, ASEAN ECommerce Trusted Trader Program and the Future of Customs Capacity Building Program on Transformative Technologies.”   


The delegation also participated in a virtual consultation session alongside the EU-ASEAN Business Council and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to discuss developments and potential outcomes for the Joint Business Council Low Value Shipment Program. Companies participating in the delegation included FedEx, Intel, Proctor & Gamble, and UPS.

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For over 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.