Home » Customs & Trade » Singapore, Japan ink pact on supply chain security

Singapore and Japan have agreed to recognize each other’s trade security and facilitation programs, a step that will hasten movement of their respective cargoes through their trading partner’s customs.

Customs officials from both countries signed on June 25 a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) acknowledging the other’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status at the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council Sessions in Brussels, Belgium.

An AEO is defined as “a party involved in the international movement of goods in whatever function that has been approved by or on behalf of a national customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards.”

Singapore Customs is the first in Southeast Asia to sign an MRA on supply chain security, joining the ranks of a growing group of customs administrations that have entered into similar MRAs, such as Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States.

This is Singapore’s third MRA signed. The first two MRAs, with South Korea and Canada, were inked a year ago.

Japan is Singapore’s sixth largest trading partner. Singapore’s top exports to Japan include electronic chips and optical media. Top imports from Japan include electronic integrated circuits and semi-manufactured gold.

Singapore Customs’ AEO scheme, called the Secure Trade Partnership (STP), is based on the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade.

“With this MRA, our STP-Plus companies’ cargoes would be less prone to customs inspections at the ports in Japan. This would enable the companies to better manage their supply chain, with benefits such as time savings and greater predictability of international shipments,” said Fong Yong Kian, Singapore Customs director-general.

Similarly, exports from companies certified under Japan Customs’ AEO program will be less liable for inspection upon arrival in Singapore.

The MRA signing capped discussions on mutual recognition between Singapore Customs and Japan Customs that started in 2008.

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