Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » ASEAN developing pilot customs transit facilitation system

Asean bannerThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has begun developing a pilot customs transit system (ACTS) that aims to facilitate movement of transit goods by road as the region inches closer to economic integration.

Work on the ACTS pilot system started on October 20, 2014 and will continue for 18 months, followed by testing in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand from April to October 2016.

Three ASEAN sectoral bodies are involved in the project. The Customs sector will lead in managing and monitoring its implementation, while the National ACTS Project Teams will oversee its pilot application at the national level. The transport and financial sectors make up the triad playing key roles in the project’s management.

“It is envisaged that this initiative will offer significant benefits to the trading and manufacturing sectors and will act as a catalyst for harmonization and modernization of the ASEAN Customs and Transport environment to meet the objectives of making ASEAN a single market and production base,” the ASEAN Secretariat said in a statement.

The ACTS is expected to reduce transaction costs, improve delivery times of transit cargo, provide electronic tracking of transit cargo, and expedite implementation of ASEAN transport facilitation agreements.

The European Union’s ASEAN regional integration technical assistance program has provided EUR3 million in financial support to the development project.

ASEAN online resource for SMEs

In related news, the ASEAN SME Working Group (SMEWG) worked with the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs and other stakeholders on the design of the planned “ASEAN Online SME Academy” during a recent regional consultation forum in Bangkok, Thailand.

The virtual academy is envisioned to provide small and medium-scale enterprises a single entry point to facilitate access to regional business information and training resources in local languages.

“The Academy will be a one-stop, open-access gateway that provides business information and training resources to support ASEAN SMEs’ start-up, development and internationalization as well as to improve the business development services to SMEs from their providers,” an ASEAN official release said.

“As per demand and when needed, the business information and training resources posted in the Academy would be selectively translated into the local languages to maximize reach and absorption.”

Preliminary work on the academy started with the launch of the Business Alliance in March 2014 in consultation with the ASEAN SMEWG.

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