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Speech By Awang Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny at the opening of the 24th Meeting of ASEAN Directors-General of Customs on Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

 Pic Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

 

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim

Your Excellency, Dr Lim Hong Hin, the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Directors-General of Customs of ASEAN member states,

Distinguished guests and delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen. 

 

 Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and a very good morning to all.

 It gives me great pleasure for me to be here as the Guest of Honour to officiate the opening of the 24th Meeting of ASEAN Directors-General of Customs. On behalf of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you to our “Abode of Peace”, Brunei Darussalam.

It was ten years ago in 2005, when the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs last met in Brunei Darussalam.

During that year ASEAN’s GDP in dollar terms was about $891 billion. Our intra-ASEAN regional trade amounted to $304 billion, a share of 24.9 percent of total ASEAN trade.

Since then, despite the challenging global economic environment, the Asian economies particularly ASEAN, have maintained resiliency and evolved through continuous reforms and progressive yet prudent financial and economic policies.

Today, ASEAN’s GDP has almost tripled in size. In real terms, the region grew at an average rate of 4 to 6 percent a year.  Our intra-ASEAN regional trade has more than doubled and is still growing, while our extra-ASEAN trade has almost tripled, making us the world’s third largest exporting bloc.

We are privileged to chair this meeting again, especially on this momentous year, which marks the culmination of the ASEAN Economic Community aspiration to become a single market that is highly competitive, equitable and is fully integrated to the global economy. It is the year that we take stock of achievements and important developments in the areas of community building and pave the way towards deeper integration and unity beyond 2015.

The work and relentless efforts by Distinguished Directors-General on the issue of customs over the years is especially crucial in realizing our shared goal of free movement of goods and services, investment, and freer flow of capital under the AEC 2015 through the elimination of barriers that hampers free and fair trade.

Among the many milestones achieved to date include the entry-into-force of the ASEAN Agreement on Customs last November and the complete signing of Protocol 7 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT) last February.  The signing of the Protocol of Legal Framework to Implement the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) in March is also another important milestone reached, that would expedite the implementation of remaining components of the ASEAN Single Window measures.

We look forward to the early implementation of the ASEAN Single Window and ASEAN Customs Transit System Pilot Project as measures to accelerate the movement of goods carried out under a transit procedure in this region and to oer security for the goods transported.

Echoing the Leaders during the 26th ASEAN Summit held in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia on 27 April this year to expedite the implementation of remaining measures under the AEC blueprint that will have a high impact on trade, I would like to encourage Directors- General, to work closely together and expedite their work in the following areas by the end of this year.

 

·       First, the ratification of Protocol 7 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT);

·       Second, the complete signing of the Protocol of Legal Framework to Implement the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and its early implementation of other components of the ASEAN Single Window; 

·       Third, the implementation of the full-fledged ASEAN Single Window Pilot Project Component 2; and

·       Fourth, the implementation of the ASEAN Customs Transit System Pilot Project.

 

Going forward, we would also like to see Customs broad framework and vision post AEC 2015 as mandated by our leaders.

 To conclude, I wish you have a productive meeting and have a pleasant stay in Bandar Seri Begawan.

 With that, I declare the 24th ASEAN Customs Directors-General Meeting officially open.

 

Thank you.

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