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The 13th ASEM: Improving Vietnam's customs' stature

(VLR) Carrying out its member’s duties in the framework of ASEAN- EUROPE Meeting (ASEM), the General Department of Vietnam Customs successfully hosted the 13th ASEM Customs Directors-General and Commissioners Meeting (13th ASEM Meeting). The meeting took place in 2 days October 9th - 10th in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh.

This was the first time the General Department of Vietnam Customs hosted an important largest-scale event in the field of customs in Asia - Europe. The host of the 13th ASEM Meeting is not only a duty of a member but also an honor - a trust from other ASEM Customs organization to Vietnam Customs.

There were participation from 150 delegates from 53 delegations of Directors-General and Commissioners from Customs organizations of ASEM member countries, General Secretary of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Europe Union and representatives of Embassies of ASEM member countries in Vietnam.

ASEM 13TH will focus on Vietnam’s ideas on Green Customs Campaign to stop illegal waste material and garbage transport.

Asia- Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an inter-regional meeting officially established in 1996 on a political initiative to create a new partnership relation between Europe and Asia for greater exchange and understanding between the two continents. ASEM has been an important factor that help shape the world situation in the 21st century. And the meeting, with its changes in terms of cooperation and connection, has brought practical benefits to its members in attempts of maintaining peace, security, stability, economic recoveries against global challenges. Having overcome barriers and differences, ASEM has become a big family with 53 members.

ASEM have discussion on the three main subjects: politics, security-economy and culture-society and customs cooperation. ASEM has priorities of modifying and improving multilateral trade system in WTO.

After 5 times of expansion, ASEM has increased its members from 26 members (at its start) to 53 members, including 21 ASIAN members, 30 members from Europe and EU and the ASEAN Board of Secretary, representing 60% of the world population and contributing 55% of trade, 65% of GDP and 75% of global tourism.

ASEM working progress includes annual meetings of customs working groups and directors-general meeting held every two years hosted by an Asian country or a European country in turn. ASEM directors-general meeting functions as an orientation meeting, guiding working groups to carry out plans approved by ASEM directors-general.

In the period of 2018 - 2019, ASEM customs cooperation includes 4 priorities approved in the 12th ASEM Directors-General Meeting in 2017 in Germany: (i) Creating trade facilitation and supply chain security; (ii) Fighting fake products and implementing Intellectual Property Right; (iii) Protecting society and environment; (iv) Connecting communities and ASEM vision. These have been four priorities in the progress of ASEM customs cooperation since 2009. Therefore contents to be discussed in the 13th ASEM in Vietnam will be around these four priorities for building particular action plans for the period of 2020 - 2021. Especially, Vietnam’s ideas on Green Customs Campaign will be focused in the 13th ASEM.

ASEM Customs’ action plans in the period of 2020 - 2021 will include (i) Facilitating trade and paperless customs procedures; (ii) Implementing “one- stop’ mechanism in the situation of applying airtificial intelligence and blockchain technology; (iii) Applying effective customs control using hi-tech; (iv) Carrying out Green Customs Campaign to prevent ilegal waste material trafficking and garbage; (v) Carrying out customs cooperation to stop fake products and implementing

intelectual property protection in the borders; (vi) Connecting ASEM through the mechanism of sharing and exchanging information; (vii) having ASEM cooperation through activities of transshipment and transport and (viii) carrying out customs management with e trade.

Ha Long Announcement shows commitments from ASEM Directors-General on targets and priorities of ASEM customs cooperation in the future and the ASEM action plan in the period of 2020-2021 with action programs to be approved in the meeting.

With the spirit of improving multi lateral foreign affairs in the Instruction no.25-CT/TW, hosting of the ASEM Directors General affirms initiatives in contributing and orienting activities in Asian-Europe Customs Cooperation; in contributing to connection and cooperation in the field of customs in the situation of the Industry 4.0, together with the fact that the world have been facing challenges from comercial fraud, security issues, fighting terroist, and ilegal trafficking...

Besides achieved targets on agreements on priority contents in ASEM 2020 - 2021 action plan, Vietnam Customs will focus on works of propaganda, reception and logistics to promote Vietnam’s culture and country to regional and international friends.

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