Hanoi (VNA) - The organisation of the 13th Meeting of ASEM Customs Directors-General and Commissioners is not only the responsibility of Vietnam as a member country but also a great honour, demonstrating the trust of the ASEM customs sector in the Vietnamese customs.

The 13th Meeting of ASEM Customs Directors-General and Commissioners officially opened in Ha Long city, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh on October 9, with the participation of 53 delegations led by directors-general and commissioners of customs agencies of ASEM member countries as well as Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), and representatives of the European Union and embassies of ASEM member countries in Vietnam.

This is the first time the General Department of Vietnam Customs has hosted the largest Asia - Europe event in the customs field. 

Promoting human resources development

At the event, Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan emphasised that the meeting was an opportunity for the parties to seek ways to renovate customs management methods to meet the requirements of the fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as work together to promote human resources development and increase exchanges towards sustainable development.

[Vietnam to host ASEM customs directors-general meeting]

“We together acknowledge the efforts of ASEM customs agencies in developing and implementing the ASEM customs action plan with priorities on trade facilitation and supply chain security, enforcement of intellectual property rights, social and environmental protection and promoting the participation of the business community in order to realise ASEM member governments' commitments,” he said.

Attending the ASEM forum, the parties engage in dialogues on three key pillars including security-politics, economy-finance, and culture-society-education. Customs cooperation is part of the economic and financial dialogue process with the main priority given to increasing dialogues on related issues of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) including trade facilitation, trade security, trade and development.

In addition, the working mechanisms in the forum consist of the annual meeting of the Customs Working Group and the Meeting of ASEM Customs Directors-General and Commissioners, which is held every two years by Asian and European members in rotation.

ASEM Customs seeks new management method amid Industry 4.0 hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan addresses the meeting (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Challenges in both trade and non-trade issues

Tuan expected that with the presence of the Directors General and heads of Asian and European customs agencies, this meeting will surely bring the good results to each member and the regions through the exchange and development of orientations and action plans for ASEM customs cooperation.

According to him, the current world economic context is creating many opportunities for development but also posing a lot of challenges due to the interplay of many factors related to trade and non-trade. Challenges facing customs authorities include smuggling, illegal transportation of prohibited goods, violation of intellectual property rights, and crimes related to environment and security international cooperation, requiring the promotion of international cooperation mechanisms, with ASEM cooperation being a very important channel.

For Vietnam, Tuan said the Government and the Ministry of Finance always attach importance to cooperation and mutual assistance in the customs field, both bilaterally and multilaterally, in order to facilitate trade and create a predictable fair and transparent business environment for enterprises. Customs management will become more effective, preventing customs law violations that adversely affect the investment and business environment in Vietnam.

“In that direction, the Ministry of Finance has drastically directed the customs modernisation and reform up to international standards, optimising scientific and technological achievements in customs management and ensuring the full implementation of international commitments on trade facilitation,” he noted.

According to Nguyen Van Can, head of the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) forum, established in 1996, has grown beyond its original expectations. It is the most important and largest dialogue and cooperation mechanism between the two continents that promotes the trend of multi-level cooperation and linkage for peace and development.

At this year's forum, the Ha Long Declaration represents the commitment of the ASEM Customs Directors-General to the goals and priorities of ASEM customs cooperation in the future as well as the ASEM customs action plan for the 2020- 2021 period with programmes and activities officially adopted at this meeting, he said.

The hosting of the 13th Meeting of ASEM General Directors-General and Commissioners confirmed Vietnam’s active contributions to orienting Asia-Europe customs cooperation, he affirmed.

In addition to the task of reaching agreements on priority contents in the ASEM customs action plan for 2020-2021, the GDVC representative also said that the sector will continue to focus on popularisation, reception and logistics to promote the culture and country of Vietnam to regional and international friends./.