SASEC News

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:  

June 2017
Electronic Cargo Tracking System to Improve India-Nepal Cargo Traffic and Security

An electronic tracking system will soon ease traffic-in-transit for cargo traveling by road and rail from Kolkata to four major Customs points of Nepal, including the Raxaul route. Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Customs Commissioner, India, and Mr. Rabi Shanker Sainju, Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary, Nepal, signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the tracking system for a trial period of at least 90 days in late 2017.


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Tags:  Electronic Cargo Tracking SystemADBSASECNepalIndiaBBINCustomsRoadRailTransport
 

March 2017
BIMSTEC Roundtable Stresses Need to Resolve Border-Related Trade Barriers

The Eighth BIMSTEC Roundtable Meeting tackled “Rewriting the Rulebook of Regional Connectivity,” emphasizing the need to resolve border-related trade barriers through coordination of government policies across Asia, including Customs procedures and clearance of goods, to unlock the vibrancy of the Asian Highway and reduce the cost of doing business.


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Tags:  BIMSTECTradeCustomsBangladeshIndiaMyanmarICTNepalTransportEase of Doing Business
 

February 2017
India Files Proposal for Trade Deal on Services

India filed a draft Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on Services at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 23 February 2017. The proposal aims to increase transparency, reduce costs and facilitate cross-border flows of services. India is looking to push the proposal at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.


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Tags:  CustomsIndiaServicesTrade Facilitation AgreementTransparencyTransportWTO
 

January 2017
Nepal Submits Instrument of Acceptance for Trade Facilitation Agreement

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is getting closer to coming into force after Mr. Deepak Dhital, Nepal’s Ambassador to the WTO, submitted his country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 24 January 2017. Nepal is the 14th least developed country to ratify the TFA, which is expected to help reduce trade costs for WTO member countries.


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Tags:  NepalCustomsTrade Facilitation
 

January 2017
India to Sign Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods

India is set to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport Convention in its bid to establish seamless trade connectivity with Southeast Asia and Eurasian countries. Through the TIR Convention, India could access Eurasia via the International North-South Transport Corridor. TIR would also give India an advantage in trade with fellow signatories of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalConnectivityCustomsEconomic corridorHarmonizationMotor Vehicles AgreementRoadRoadsTrade FacilitationTradeTransportBBIN
 

January 2017
Nepal Prepares to Implement the Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021

Nepal's Department of Customs is set to present the Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan (CRMSAP) 2017-2021 on 26 January 2017, International Customs Day. The CRMSAP 2017-2021 aims to implement provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention, the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and the Single Window System.


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Tags:  NepalCustomsTrade FacilitationSingle Window
 

January 2017
Nepal Customs Officers Undergo Training at NACEN

The National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN) held a capacity-building program for 35 Customs Officers from Nepal. The 5-day program discussed various Customs-related topics, including Customs valuation; World Trade Organization provisions; Customs reform; and use of risk management.


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Tags:  IndiaNepalTrade FacilitationCustomsFree Trade AgreementRisk ManagementWTO
 

January 2017
Nepal Parliament Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Nepal’s Parliament ratified the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 13 January 2017, drawing up the instrument of acceptance for the WTO TFA, whose implementation will help expand trade and attract foreign direct investment in Nepal by increasing transparency and effectiveness of the trading process.


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Tags:  NepalTrade FacilitationExportsCustomsFDILDCWTO
 

January 2017
Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs Held in Thimphu

The Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs highlighted the possibility of facilitating bilateral trade in select land Customs stations along Bhutan-India borders; and discussed streamlining Customs procedures and document requirements at entry and exit points. It also agreed to open three more trading points between Bhutan and India, and discussed issues including development of Goods and Service Tax in India.


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Tags:  IndiaBhutanCustomsTradeTrade FacilitationBilateral Agreement
 

December 2016
SASEC Mini Dry Port Project to Help Ease Traffic in Phuentsholing, Bhutan

Two of three South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation project components are seeing progress in Bhutan. A planned mini dry port project aims to provide cargo and other commercial vehicles a route that avoids traffic jams in the border town of Phuentsholing. A 2.66-kilometer bypass will also be built to connect Bau Bazaar in Jaigon and the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.


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Tags:  ADBBhutanTransportCustomsRoadSASECSouth Asia
 

December 2016
Commentary: Bangladesh Inching towards Paperless Trade

Bangladesh has adopted the mantra "Digital Bangladesh" in its push to reduce trade costs, by implementing paperless trade through an electronic system. The country has already launched an online trade portal; the Central Bank is successfully conducting electronic transactions; and the National Board of Revenue has also enhanced its paperless capacity. Asjadul Kibria, Bangladeshi economic journalist, provides the following commentary.


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Tags:  BangladeshCustomsSingle WindowTradeTrade FacilitationTrade Facilitation AgreementWTO
 

December 2016
4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Central Board of Excise and Customs organized the 4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting in New Delhi, India, as part of its Founding Day celebrations. The Heads of Customs Enforcement from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Maldives were invited to participate in the said Meeting, which discussed issues of mutual concern, noted the need to share information and activate channels of coordination.


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Tags:  CustomsTrade FacilitationSouth AsiaRegional CooperationIndiaSri LankaMyanmarBangladeshNepalBhutanMaldivesMyanmarTrade
 

October 2016
Simplified Customs Process to Benefit Emerging Domestic Brands

A new Customs inspection and verification procedure is changing how trade is conducted among South Asian countries. Through the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement, cargo and passenger vehicles may now pass through the four countries more smoothly. The simplified process greatly benefits apparel-centric economies, making South Asia more competitive for both global and domestic brands.


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Tags:  BBINCustomsTrade FacilitationGarmentsImportsMotor Vehicles AgreementBangladeshIndiaNepal
 

September 2016
Nepal Parliament Ratifies Protocol of Amendments to the Revised Kyoto Convention

The Nepal Parliament ratified the Protocol of Amendments to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedure (Revised Kyoto Convention) on 9 September 2016, tabled by Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The ratification is expected to boost the capacity of Nepal Customs to facilitate trade.


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Tags:  NepalTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

September 2016
Customs-free BBIN Borders to Cut Time, Cost for Traders

Customs-free borders for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal will save time and money for importers and exporters and thereby increase the ease of doing business, according to an executive of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO). Because goods no longer have to be unloaded at the border, trucks can easily cross borders, reducing time and logistics costs for both buyer and seller.


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Tags:  BBINCustomsTradeMotor Vehicles AgreementBangladeshBhutanIndia
 

August 2016
SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Trade, Taxation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting focused on improving trade relations among member nations. Discussions revolved around economic issues, Customs unions, avoidance of double taxation, improving connectivity, increasing trade volume, and developing supply chain linkages.


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Tags:  SAARCIndiaTradeBangladeshBhutanMaldivesNepalSri LankaConnectivityCustomsSASECTrade
 

July 2016
Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India Jointly Dedicate Largest South Asia Land Customs Station

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Checkpost (ICP). Prime Minister Modi lauded the event as an important milestone in India-Bangladesh relations, providing a boost to bilateral connectivity and trade, while Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina expressed hope that the ICP will further enhance good relations between the two countries


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Tags:  IndiaBangladeshCustomsTradeTrade Facilitation
 

July 2016
India's CBEC to Speed Up Cargo Clearances through Paperless System

India's Central Board of Excise and Customs is working to fast-track cargo clearance to hours, instead of days, through implementation of a paperless system for cargo clearance. The Government of India aims to fully digitize Customs clearance, replacing physical documentation, by 2017.


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Tags:  IndiaCustomsTrade
 

June 2016
ADB Blog: Why We Should Be Happy When SASEC Customs Officials Talk More

Meetings between Customs officials from SASEC member countries reaps benefits for the SASEC subregion and beyond, providing a platform for officers to decide the next steps in improving cross-border coordination and cooperation to resolve bottlenecks for trade at the borders. An Asian Development Bank (ADB) blog post by Ms. Rose McKenzie, Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, ADB, is shared.


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Tags:  CustomsTrade FacilitationRegional CooperationICTBBINBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepal
 

June 2016
Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Look Into Setting up Trade Portals

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have expressed interest in adopting best practices of the Indian Trade Portal in setting up their own trade portals to promote international trade. Trade portals to be set up by Bhutan and Nepal will also be useful for cargo being routed through India, and will contribute to the common documentation system needed to implement the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.


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Tags:  BhutanIndiaNepalSri LankaTrade PortalTrade FacilitationSASECCustomsTrade
 

June 2016
Bhutan Parliament Passes New Customs Bill

The 7th Session of the Second Parliament of Bhutan passed the new Customs Bill on 7 June 2016. The Bill was drafted according to standards of the Revised Kyoto Convention, and aims to simplify and harmonize Customs procedures in the country and introduce international best practices in Customs. It aims to promote external trade, including trade with countries in the SAARC region, and bring increased revenue through risk management and automation.


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Tags:  BhutanCustomsStandards HarmonizationTrade
 

February 2016
India Removes Mandatory Extra Duty on Imports

India has taken a step forward to improve its ease of doing business for local subsidiaries of multinational companies by approving simplified rules governing import pricing. The amended Customs rules removed the mandatory deposit of extra duty on imported goods by related parties, including Indian arms of import-dependent multinationals.
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Tags:  IndiaCustomsTrade Facilitation
 

January 2016
2016 International Customs Day: India Central Board Of Excise and Customs

India's Central Board Of Excise and Customs celebrated International Customs Day 2016. In observance of the theme, 'Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement', a presentation on digitization in Indian Customs was delivered, and 3 digital initiatives were launched. Mr. R. Chandra Shekhar, President, National Association of Software and Services Companies, highlighted the strides made by the department in digitization of Customs processes.
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Tags:  IndiaCustomsTrade Facilitation
 

January 2016
2016 International Customs Day: Bhutan Department of Revenue and Customs

Bhutan's Department of Revenue and Customs observed the International Customs Day at the Regional Revenue and Customs Office, Samtse. Customs officials with outstanding contribution to the organization were awarded World Customs Organization Merit Certificates. Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, border enforcement agencies and cross-border Customs officials from neighbouring towns of India joined the celebration.
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Tags:  CustomsBhutanTrade Facilitation
 

January 2016
2016 International Customs Day: Bangladesh National Board of Revenue

The Bangladesh National Board of Revenue (NBR) organized a seminar on digital Customs and progressive engagement on the occasion of International Customs Day. In his address, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said the proposed Customs Act 2015 will be placed for approval of the national parliament in the next budget session. It will automate and modernize Customs and business procedures for export-import by providing NBR with a broad legal basis for implementation of an electronic Customs
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Tags:  BangladeshTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

January 2016
2016 International Customs Day: Nepal Department of Customs

International Customs Day is observed in honor of the establishment of the World Customs Organization, an independent intergovernmental body, on 26 January 1952. Nepal Department of Customs shares the week-long program planned in Nepal to mark the occasion.
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Tags:  CustomsNepalTrade Facilitation
 

December 2015
Customs Cooperation, Bilateral Transport Agreement Discussed at Bangladesh-Bhutan Meeting

A 2-day meeting between Bangladesh and Bhutan headed by Commerce Secretaries discussed several bilateral concerns, including increasing products on the duty-free import/export list of both countries, potential hydropower imports from Bhutan to Bangladesh, Customs cooperation, and road and water transport agreement.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanCustomsTrade FacilitationTransportBBIN
 

November 2015
Exchange of Documents at Major SASEC Border-Crossing Points Starts

The exchange of export-related data between designated adjacent border crossing points in the SASEC subregion commenced on 30 November 2015. This SASEC Customs Subgroup Subregional Project promotes the exchange of documents at five major border-crossing points between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, to promote future electronic exchange of data and build a better risk profile of traders.
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Tags:  Trade FacilitationCustomsBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

November 2015
Bhutan Moves to Modernize Customs Administration through New Customs Bill

Bhutan Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presented the Customs Bill 2015 at the country's National Assembly on 5 November. The Bill aims to modernize Bhutan's Customs administration and was drafted in accordance with standards of the Revised Kyoto Convention. Aligning Bhutan with international standards and practices will lead to economic and non-economic gains, such as increased transparency and predictability of Customs actions, as well as added revenue.
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Tags:  BhutanTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

August 2015
Bangladesh Prepares to Enact New Customs Law

The National Board of Revenue of Bangladesh is set to present the Customs Act of 2015 for passage in the September parliamentary session. The new Customs Law, which aims to facilitate smooth international trade, reduce time and cost of doing business, and create a better investment climate, will replace the existing 1969 Customs Law.
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Tags:  BangladeshTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

August 2015
Sri Lanka Customs to be Fully Automated in 2016

Sri Lanka is in the final stages of its Customs automation process to ensure trade facilitation. Customs operations will be electronically processed and computer-based for a paperless environment that allows more interaction between trade and Customs. Automation equipment orders have been placed and delivered to Sri Lanka -- and the system is expected to be fully operational by March 2016.
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Tags:  CustomsICTSri Lanka
 

July 2015
Bangladesh Setting Up National Single Window

An inter-ministerial meeting in Bangladesh reached consensus to set up a National Single Window (NSW) to facilitate cross-border trade and reduce the cost of doing business. The NSW will use a virtual system through which different organizations will be interconnected. The National Board of Revenue's Customs wing will be lead agency for the NSW.


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Tags:  BangladeshTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

June 2015
Seminar Highlights Role of Trade Facilitation in Economic Corridor Development

The Asian Development Bank hosted a seminar on economic corridor development on 30 June 2015, where Dr. Pritam Banerjee, Deutsche Post DHL Trade Facilitation and Logistics Expert, discussed necessary macroeconomic reforms from the logistics perspective of economic corridor development facilitation.
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Tags:  CustomsEconomic corridorTrade Facilitation
 

March 2015
India and Sri Lanka Forge Ties to Increase Trade

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka on 13-14 March 2015, and signed four agreements with recently-elected Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, including a Customs Cooperation Agreement that aims to balance the trade deficit between the two countries. He is the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 28 years.
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Tags:  IndiaSri LankaTradeCustoms
 

January 2015
Nepali-language Version of Revised Kyoto Convention Published

Nepal is currently in an advanced stage of acceding to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) through submission of its Instrument of Accession to the World Customs Organization. In support of Nepal’s accession and future implementation of the provisions of the RKC, a Nepali-language translation has been published under the ADB-financed SASEC Trade Facilitation Program and launched during the 63rd International Customs Day on 26 January 2015.
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Tags:  NepalWCOCustoms
 

January 2015
SASEC Celebrates International Customs Day

The World Customs Organization celebrated International Customs Day on 26 January 2015 to promote Coordinated Border Management (CBM) under the theme, “Coordinated Border Management – An inclusive approach for connecting stakeholders”. CBM is now recognized by the Customs community as a potential solution of the 21st century.
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Tags:  CustomsTrade FacilitationTrade Security
 

October 2014
RKC Sensitization Workshops in Bhutan

The Department of Revenue and Customs have led a series of two-day Sensitization Workshops on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) in Bhutan during 6-22 October 2014 to brief Customs officials on the key principles of the RKC. Bhutan formally became the 96th contracting party to the RKC – the World Customs Organization international standard for an efficient and effective Customs regulatory procedure – on 15 September 2014.
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Tags:  BhutanRKCCustoms
 

September 2014
Transport in the Asian Century

In the largest gathering of transport officials and industry and sector professionals in Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank’s bi-annual Transport Forum 2014 discussed project updates, transport policies, and best practices, including new innovations in sustainable transport. Panel discussants on cross-border transport in Asia featured customs as the biggest challenge in regional growth transport.
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Tags:  TransportCustoms
 

September 2014
Bhutan’s Accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention

The Kingdom of Bhutan acceded to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention [RKC]) on 15 September 2014. It is the ninety-sixth contracting party to the RKC. Bhutan's accession will enter into full force on 15 December 2014.
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Tags:  BhutanCustomsWCO
 

May 2014
Launch of $1.5 Million Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Technical Assistance for Trade Facilitation in Nepal

Mr. Madhu Kumar Marasini, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance represented the Government of Nepal at the official launch of activities under a $1.5 million technical assistance project financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, on 21 May 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The capacity development technical assistance will support trade facilitation initiatives being carried out under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Program.
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Tags:  Trade FacilitationNepalSASECADBWCOPoverty ReductionCustoms
 

November 2012
ADB Assisting South Asia to Reduce Trade Barriers

ADB is providing $48 million to help goods move more smoothly in and out of Bangladesh Bhutan and Nepal.
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Tags:  ADBBangladeshBhutanCustomsNepalSASECSouth AsiaTradeTrade Facilitation
 

November 2012
SASEC Holds National Workshop on Revised Kyoto Convention

ADB's South Asia Regional Cooperation Divison and the World Customs Organization organized a workshop held in Thimpu Bhutan from 26-28 November to help prepare Bhutans accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention.
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Tags:  BhutanCustomsEnvironmentSASECSouth AsiaSustainabilityTradeTrade Facilitation
 

April 2012
Historic Deal Between India and Pakistan

Issues resolved surrounding trade grievances mutual recognition and customs agreements are expected to facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries.
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Tags:  Bilateral TradeCustomsIndiaSouth AsiaTradeTrade Facilitation