Customs Officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Kuala Lumpur last week to participate in a workshop on modern risk management practices, methodology and analytical tools. This workshop is part of a broader effort to promote secure trade and build the capacity of ASEAN Member States to integrate security processes and systems into their national single windows (NSW’s). It was held back-to-back with an ASEAN Customs Enforcement and Compliance Working Group meeting, and was sponsored by the U.S. Government in partnership with ASEAN.
The workshop provided the opportunity for officials to examine the evolving nature of risk management in the context of Single Window implementation and better understand the issues faced by customs organizations as they seek to improve risk management practices to both facilitate trade and improve compliance.
In opening remarks, Dato’ Haji Matrang Suhaili, Deputy Director General of Customs, Malaysian Customs noted that “…Customs is one of the oldest government agencies that has long been the facilitator and guard of a nation’s trade and borders. However, in the 21st century, the radically changing global context has imposed tremendous pressure on customs and made customs enforcement more and more complex and complicated…which require customs administrations to play a greater and indispensable role in international trade and security.”
An effective, interagency approach to risk management processes is critical to meeting these challenges.
“Expanded and more efficient trade are important ASEAN Community objectives, but more cross border flows of goods and people also carry risks,” said David Carden, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN. “In the coming years, effective trade security practices will both facilitate legitimate trade and protect against unintended side effects of closer ASEAN integration.”
Over the course of four days, experts utilized in-depth presentations, case studies and breakout sessions in order to discuss risk management methodology and the importance of a partnership approach with other agencies and the private sector in managing compliance. The workshop has helped participants better realize the economic benefits of positive risk management and will help broaden trade security and facilitation efforts, such as implementation of authorized economic operator (AEO) programs.
This assistance expands on existing U.S. support to ASEAN to help Member States meet their obligations under the ASEAN Economic Community.