|View of the 13th ASEM Customs Directors-General/Commissioners’ Meeting (Photo: chinhphu.vn)
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 Vietnam.
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said the meeting offered an opportunity for the delegates to seek ways to revamp customs management, meeting the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while stepping up cooperation in human resources and sustainable development in the sector.
According to Kunio Mikuriya, WCO’s Secretary General, in the context of globalisation, customs authorities played an important role in promoting national innovation and integration.
The meeting was an opportunity for customs forces of Asian and European countries to cooperate with each other in adapting to globalisation, supporting free trade and building an agreement to fight illegal trade.
Mikuriya added that over the past two years, countries had developed e-commerce management frameworks to cope with changes in the context of economic digitisation. The implementation of the e-commerce frameworks had made e-commerce management easier, benefiting global consumers.
Nguyen Van Can, head of the GDVC, said hosting the meeting demonstrated the GDVC’s efforts in contributing to orienting ASEM customs cooperation amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution and challenges facing the world like trade fraud, terrorism and smuggling, among others.
During the previous meeting in Germany in 2017, the ASEM customs directors-general approved four priorities for customs co-operation in the 2018-19 period, namely trade facilitation and supply chain security, fighting counterfeit goods and enforcement of intellectual property rights, social and environmental protection, and community connectivity, Can said.
These priorities have been the focus of ASEM customs collaboration since 2009, and continued to be tabled at this meeting, Can said, adding the meeting aimed to agree on specific plans of action on the four priorities, which were included in the ASEM customs action plan for 2020-21.
The 2020-21 ASEM customs action plan covers eight goals, which are facilitating trade and online customs procedures, implementing the one-stop-shop mechanism, effectively managing the customs sector through high technology, promoting the green customs campaign to prevent the illegal transportation of scrap and waste, strengthening customs coordination to prevent counterfeit goods, enforcing intellectual property rights at border areas, connecting ASEM through information sharing, and promoting ASEM cooperation in transit operations and customs management over e-commerce.
ASEM Customs Directors-General/Commissioners meet every two years to discuss developments and priorities in the area of customs.
ASEM is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and co-operation between Asia and Europe. Presently, it comprises 53 partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEM addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural and educational issues of common interest in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.