Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures
Customs organizations implement government policies that help facilitate trade at the border. In an era of globalization, it is important that trade is secure and that customs rules and procedures are kept to a minimum to reduce transaction costs.
The APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) was established in 1994 as a sub forum of the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI).
Its main objectives are to simplify and harmonize regional customs procedures to ensure that goods and services move efficiently, effectively and safely through the region, and to reconcile and facilitate border control.
Having adopted “Facilitation, Accountability, Consistency, Transparency and Simplification” as its basic guiding principles, the SCCP has been steadfast in implementing the two Trade Facilitation Action Plans and the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework as well as the Yokohama Vision.
Over the past 20 years, the SCCP has carried out a series of initiatives and achieved fruitful outcomes:
- The Single Window Strategic Plan developed to streamline the export-import process using an online system linking all government agencies responsible for permits, certificates, and fees.
- The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Strategies and the APEC Guidelines for Customs Border Enforcement, Counterfeiting and Piracy endorsed to strengthen IPR enforcement at borders.
- The Action Plan on the Development of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programs and the AEO Compendium for all APEC Economies help members establish AEO programs and mutual recognition. Operators can be accredited by customs offices as an AEOs when they prove to have high-quality internal processes that will prevent goods in international transport to be tampered with. This helps speed customs inspections for low-risk operators.
The SCCP has also undertaken the responsibilities of addressing chokepoints or bottlenecks relevant to customs. The SCCP’s efforts over the past two decades have contributed greatly to the two-time 5 per cent reductions of APEC trade transaction costs and played a fundamental role in the 10 per cent improvement by 2015 in supply chain performance among APEC economies. These efforts will contribute to the development of a fair, transparent and dynamic economic and trading environment in the Asia-Pacific region.
The SCCP had its two plenary meetings of 2018 during the meeting clusters around the first and third Senior Officials Meetings (SOM 1 and SOM 3), respectively, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In the meetings, chaired by Mr James Kombuk Bire (Papua New Guinea Customs Services), customs officials from APEC Member economies reported their progress and achievements on the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs and the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan Phase II (SCFAP II). Members also shared information and views on their single window and authorized economic operator (AEO) programs—such as the promotion of mutual recognition arrangements in the APEC region.
The SCCP included “cross-border e-commerce” as a new item in the group’s Collective Action Plan in 2014. In subsequent meetings, customs administrations highlighted the relevance of cross border e-commerce in the region and continue to discuss the way forward on this topic.
Representatives from the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Oceania Customs Organization (OCO) participated as guests and shared their activities, programmes and actions related to trade facilitation in the region.
Current Actions and Projects on Promoting Connectivity and Trade Facilitation
Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which came into force in February 2017, aims to reduce trade costs and delays for businesses and red-tape in cross-border trade by simplifying the customs and border procedures, among other initiatives, in promoting a fair, transparent and dynamic trade environment. According to the WTO’s TFA Facility Website, 137 WTO members have ratified the agreement as of 31 July 2018, including the 21 APEC member economies.
APEC members recognize the gaps and challenges they face to implement the WTO TFA and they commit to keep implementing the agreement in coordination with the CTI, and to promote effective cooperation among relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors on its implementation in the region.
APEC Economies’ Implementation of Advance Rulings
Advance rulings provide enabling traders, exporters and importers with greater certainty—and promote trade facilitation—by establishing in advance the classification of goods and/or determining values. This document has collected the following information on each APEC economy:
- Requirements for the application for an advance ruling, including the information to be provided and the format;
- How long it takes to issue an advance ruling;
- Length of time for which the advance ruling is valid; and
- Whether advance rulings are for 1) good's tariff classification; 2) origin of the good; or 3) valuation.
Customs to Customs Cooperation
SCCP member economies have agreed to the relevance of implementing Article 12 of the WTO TFA (on Customs Cooperation) and will therefore explore the opportunities it provides for APEC customs administrations to improve information exchange, with a view to facilitate trade and secure the international supply chain. “Customs to Customs Cooperation” was incorporated in the 2017 Work Program and was included as a new agenda item in SCCP meetings.
Since 2007, the SCCP has been doing ground-breaking work in establishing single window systems for streamlining the export–import process in the APEC region. The single window is an online system that links all government agencies responsible for permits, certificates and fees. To date, 14 APEC economies have implemented various stages of the single window system as a result of SCCP capacity building projects.
The SCCP will continue to provide capacity building and technical support for member economies to establish and improve their individual Single Windows with the least delay possible. In addition, SCCP is also working toward realizing interoperability of Single Window systems among APEC member economies. The last study on single window interoperability from the APEC Policy Support Unit was released on August 2018
For more information on this topic, see an APEC Bulletin article highlighting SCCP's work on Single Window.
Workshops and Projects in 2018
A workshop on the “Implementation of APEC Customs Transit Guidelines” was held in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, on 11–12 September 2018, where representatives of customs administrations, the private sector, the World Customs Organization and other relevant stakeholders shared their views, practices, experiences and challenges regarding the APEC Customs Transit Guidelines.
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Accelerating Trade Facilitation Activities to Reduce the cost of doing Business: APEC Committee on Trade and Investment Report
The SCCP played an important role in the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) which was adopted by APEC in 2002.
The SCCP is working with the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) on a new action plan, the Supply-Chain (SC) Connectivity Framework .
SCCP Terms of Reference (2018)
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Subcommittee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) Compendium for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement
APEC SCCP 2016, Blueprint
SCCP - An Initiative to Reduce Consumption of Paper
APEC SCCP 2010, Blueprint(External)
Single Window Implementation Guide, July 2009(External)
Mr James KOMBUK BIRE
Papua New Guinea Customs Service
Papua New Guinea
SCCP Chair 2018
Mr Clyde NPNISA
Ms Denisse HURTADO MORALES