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. 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 (2002-2010) and the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework (2010-2015) as well as the Yokohama Vision (since 2010).

Over the past 20 years, the SCCP has carried out a series of initiatives and achieved fruitful outcomes including:

  • 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 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.               
Last page update: February 2018

Current Activities

The SCCP held its first meeting of 2017 on 21-23 February in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, and its second Meeting on 19-21 August in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

SCCP members reviewed the SCCP’s 2015 outcomes, reporting specific achievements such as the adoption of the APEC Customs 3M Strategic Framework; the work related to the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; the expansion of Single Window processing the region; and the growing partnership with the business community; among others.

The SCCP included 2014 “cross-border e-commerce” as a new item in the group’s Collective Action Plan. The subcommittee conducted the Survey on APEC Cross-border E-commerce, which summarized the status quo of law and legislation, supervision and control, and law enforcement activities in the APEC region with regard to cross-border e-commerce. The SCCP also organized a seminar to promote experience sharing and capacity building on the issue.

Current Actions and Projects

Promoting Connectivity and Trade Facilitation

Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) aims to reduce trade costs and delays for businesses, red-tape in cross-border trade by simplifying the customs and border procedures, and other initiatives in promoting a fair, transparent and dynamic trade environment.

The SCCP welcomed the entry into force of the TFA in February 2017 and reaffirmed its commitment to continue its efforts to implement the agreement.  

The SCCP organized the Workshop on Enhancement of Stakeholder Engagement in the Implementation of the WTO TFA, which took place on 16 August 2017, in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

APEC Economies’ Implementation of Advance Rulings

Advance rulings, by enabling traders, exporters and importers to establish in advance the value, classification of goods and/or determination of values, provides greater certainty and promote trade facilitation. The attached link (here) provides information on each APEC economies’

(a) requirements for the application for an advance ruling, including the information to be provided and the format;
(b) time period by which it will issue an advance ruling;
(c) length of time for which the advance ruling is valid; and
(d) whether Advance Rulings are for (i) good's tariff classification; (ii) origin of the good; and (iii) valuation.

Single Window

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. For more information, see an APEC Bulletin article highlighting SCCP's work on Single Window.

SCCP organized a Single Window Workshop that was held on 17 August 2017, in Ho Chi Minh city, Viet Nam.

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Papua New Guinea Customs Service
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