Fifth SASEC Customs Subgroup Meeting
The SASEC Customs Subgroup (SCS) held its fifth meeting in Male, the Maldives on 26 May 2016 to review the implementation status of subregional and national projects in the SCS Work Plan 2014-2016; discuss and identify priority projects to fulfill the strategic objective of trade facilitation under SASEC 2025, the program’s 10-year strategic roadmap; and discuss subregional capacity-building activities in six priority areas endorsed by the Second SCS Meeting, as well as recent initiatives in new areas.
The Fifth SCS Meeting noted considerable progress made since the fourth meeting of the SCS held in Cebu, Philippines in October 2015, including:
- Successful exchange of documents between Customs administrations at selected border-crossing points; completion of an assessment study on containerized movement of cargo in the SASEC subregion; institutionalized Customs meetings at major border-crossing points; the automation of transit processes; the exchange of export-related data between designated adjacent crossing points; and the establishment of a SASEC ASYCUDA World Support Mechanism;
- Implementation of various national projects on Customs modernization; and
- Outputs of subregional and national capacity-building activities in SCS-identified priority areas, including the initiatives and programs of the World Customs Organization (WCO).
The Fifth SCS Meeting was inaugurated by Mr. Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Economic Development of the Maldives, who highlighted the effectiveness of the SASEC project-based approach in promoting regional cooperation in South Asia and stressed that SCS achievements will have positive implications beyond Customs administrations, extending to other government agencies and the private sector. Mr. Ibrahim Shareef Mohamed, Commissioner General of Customs, Maldives, opened the meeting, welcoming representatives of the SASEC Customs administrations, as well as participants from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Customs Organization (WCO). The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Ismail Nashid, Assistant Commissioner, Maldives Customs and co-chaired by Ms. Rosalind McKenzie, Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, South Asia Department, ADB. Participants included heads and senior officials of SASEC Customs administrations. Mr. Takayuki Miyoshi, CCF/Japan Operational Manager/Program Manager South Asia of WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building also participated in the meeting.
Learning Event on Trade Information Portals
The SCS two-day program included a learning event on the development of trade information portals. Experts delivered lessons learned from the experience of developing national trade information portals, and specific examples of the Indian Trade Portal and the Bangladesh Trade Portal were studied in depth. Options for developing a subregional trade information portal under SASEC were also discussed.
The Fifth SCS Meeting and Learning Event were financed by ADB regional technical assistance. It was organized by the SASEC Secretariat and supported by ADB staff and the World Customs Organization.