VCN- Within the framework of the APEC 2017 Year hosted by Vietnam, from 18th February to 3rd March, 2017, the first Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1) will take place in Nha Trang City (Khanh Hoa province).
At the specialized level, Vietnam Customs will host and chair the meetings of the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) and Customs-Enterprises dialogue conference. Around the preparations for this event, the Customs newspaper had an interview with Mr. Vu Ngoc Anh (pictured), Deputy Director of the General Department of Customs, head of the APEC 2017 SCCP steering committee.
Mr. Deputy Director General, What work has Vietnam Customs done to prepare for the APEC year of Vietnam in 2017?
To prepare for Vietnam hosting APEC 2017, Vietnam Customs has actively established the Steering Committee to organize the activities of the 2017 APEC SCCP of Vietnam.
The Steering Committee has the responsibility to successfully organize and run the 2017 SCCP operations; develop and implement the master plan to organize the SCCP activities; build the operating scenarios for chairmen at the SCCP meetings, the Customs - enterprises dialogue conference; prepare the content and plan of the Vietnam delegation to attend the meetings; prepare content for bilateral meetings between Vietnam Customs and some member economies’ Customs etc.; coordinate with the APEC 2017 Logistics Subcommittee (Government Office), the APEC 2017 National Committee to prepare the necessary conditions to organize the SCCP activities; organize to communicate and introduce the APEC 2017 SCCP Chairmanship year; and introduce about Vietnam Customs with progress in recent years.
Could you tell us about the specific time that Vietnam Customs will host the meetings?
Performing the members’ duties of APEC, Vietnam Customs will host the first meeting of the SCCP from 21st to 23rd February at the Sheraton Hotel, Nha Trang city of Khanh Hoa province.
This is the first operation in a series of meetings and events of the Vietnam APEC 2017 SCCP. The meetings of the SCCP are the most important annual activities of APEC in the field of Customs. This is the second time Vietnam Customs has hosted this important event followed the success of the SCCP meetings in Vietnam APEC 2006. Vietnam Customs consider that by hosting this event is not only the responsibility of the member States but also a great honor, expressing the APEC members confidence in Vietnam.
The first SCCP meeting was attended by more than 50 international delegates from Customs of APEC member economies, the APEC Secretariat, and the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI).
As one of the subcommittees and working groups under the CTI, the discussion of the SCCP 1 will stick to the priorities and themes of APEC and CTI in 2017.
Mr. Deputy Director, what are the major priorities that APEC 2017 will focus on?
With the theme of APEC 2017 "Creating New Dynamism, Fostering A Shared Future", APEC 2017 will focus on key priorities include: Promoting sustainable, innovative and comprehensive growth; strengthening economic linkages and deep regional integration; facilitate the micro, small and medium enterprises through support to enhance competitiveness, innovation and participation in the global value chain and strengthen food security and sustainable agriculture, and adaptation to the effects of climate change.
In the chain of the above national priorities, CTI also identifies the main issues to be focused at the CTI meeting including: Towards achieving the Bogor Goals of trade facilitation and build the agenda pillars of APEC 2020; continue to promote the implementation of the FTA commitments in the Asia - Pacific region; promote APEC connections and connect the supply chain; facilitate the micro, small and medium enterprises; promoting auxiliary industries as well as promoting regional and global value chains, as well as promoting liberalization of trade services.
Based on the themes and priority directions of APEC and CTI in 2017, SCCP agreed the agenda of the first meeting will focus on seven main issues: Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement within the WTO framework; Deploying single window connectivity; Developing enterprises priority program; Application of information technology and risk management in Customs management; Managing the enforcement of intellectual property rights across borders; and Promoting e-commerce across borders and enhancing the supply chain connectivity framework.
Among that, SCCP selected two priority issues: Ensure commercial security in connecting the supply chain, which emphasizes the implementation of measures to prevent smuggling, trade fraud, anti-fake goods; and trade facilitation through enhanced deploying and completing single window connectivity.
In your opinion, what does Vietnam Customs wish to create with regional connecting and cooperating in Customs?
By chairing the APEC 2017 SCCP activities, Vietnam Customs wishes to contribute to creating regional connections and cooperation in Customs in the context that the world is facing many security issues in counter-terrorism, control of cargo in smuggling, and illegal transportation of drugs is increasingly complicated, sophisticated and spontaneous with high volume; trade security challenges in the digital era; or pressure to maintain sustainable economic growth to be adaptable with climate change.
Besides, with these priority contents, Vietnam Customs desires the member economies’ customs to exchange and make suggestions, recommendations and initiatives in implement the single window connection mechanism and prevention of smuggling, and trade fraud to implement the important role of Customs authorities in cooperating to facilitate trade and ensure commercial security in the regional supply chain. These are also the important goals that the collective action program (CAP) that SCCP submitted to the APEC Secretariat in 2016 with the desire to further cut administrative procedures, save time and cost, bring real benefits to the business community in the APEC region, and at the same time reforming and modernizing the Customs authorities activities.
Also, besides the task of ensuring the success of the SCCP meetings’ contents, and contributing to the progress of APEC, Vietnam Customs also wishes to contribute to the introduction of Vietnam’s culture and people to regional and international friends through the sidelines activities of this meeting.
Thank you Sir!
By Hồng Nụ/ Huu Tuc