The ASEAN Customs Transit System with the participation of six countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) aims to reduce intra-ASEAN trading challenges and enable companies to benefit fully from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the free movement of goods across the ASEAN region.
In 2017, ASEAN Economic Ministers set the twin goals of reducing trade transaction costs by 10 percent by 2020 and doubling intra-ASEAN trade between 2017 and 2025. To realize this goal, the ASEAN Customs Transit System has been developed to allow businesses to lodge e-transit declarations directly with ASEAN Customs Authorities and to track the movement of their goods from loading at departure to delivery at the final destination.
Speaking at the virtual ceremony, His Excellency Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN emphasized: “I believe the system would be an excellent tool in enhancing ASEAN’s trade and production networks as well as establishing a more unified market for its firms and consumers”. He also showed confidence that the ACTS could support post-COVID-recovery to accelerate the transit movement of medical supplies, vaccines and Personal Protective Equipment within member states.
ASEAN Customs Transit System is simplifying the movement of goods across the region, making it more efficient and cost-effective. Under the ACTS, the private sector can make a single customs transit declaration that covers the transport of goods across multiple ASEAN countries, without the need to make repeated customs declarations or change vehicles at each border. Special arrangements allow reliable traders to load their goods at their own premises in the country of departure, and to deliver the goods to their own premises at destination. Faster customs clearance at borders helps accelerate transit movements, and reduce the time and expense of carrying out regional trade in goods, to the benefit of producers and consumers across the continental ASEAN region.
Koen Doens, Director General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission appreciated the role of ACTS: “The ACTS will make the movement of goods by road quicker and easier across the borders of the participating ASEAN member states, thereby reducing costs for businesses and citizens.”
Following the ASEAN Customs Transit System pilot activities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the system has now been formally launched for general use. The first successful ACTS transit movement occurred on October 23 and 24 with a truck travelling from Singapore via Malaysia to Thailand. The system will soon be available in Myanmar, and depending on business needs may later be expanded to Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines.
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