Government and private-sector representatives convened in Beijing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ Meetings throughout August to discuss how to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
USCIB participated in a number of meetings regarding customs matters. Kristin Isabelli, director of Customs and Trade Facilitation, moderated a workshop on chokepoint 8 and the private sector’s vision on the benefits of implementing proposed guidelines that would streamline cross-border trade among APEC economies. USCIB also participated in meetings that allowed business to weigh in on APEC chemicals regulation.
Chokepoint 8 addresses the lack of the lack of regional, cross-border customs transit arrangements between third party non-APEC countries. When goods transit through third party countries as they travel from one APEC country to another, there is currently no way to track the goods. Each country requires different documentation for the goods in transit, which makes moving goods more time-consuming and expensive for business. The goal of the proposed chokepoint 8 guidelines is to streamline and harmonize the required documentation, promote harmonized border transit agreements among economies and eliminate the need to undergo customs for cross border customs transit.
Isabelli’s panel addressed the lack of transit arrangements and customs harmonization in the APEC region and allowed the private sector to discuss some of the infrastructural, logistic, technological and capacity-building issues that hamper the smooth flow of goods and services between APEC economies. Businesses support the establishment of regional cross-border transit arrangements that would slash red tape at customs, enhancing efficiency throughout the supply chain and facilitating trade and economic growth. Securing such agreements requires the collaboration of all APEC economies.
This year’s third APEC Senior Officials Meetings also marked the first meeting of the customs public private sector virtual working group, of which Isabelli is the private sector co-chair. The meeting convened members of the business community, including Ralph Carter (FedEx), and customs officials to discuss a list of priorities that would complement the work of the APEC Subcommittee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), including e-commerce, single window – a system whereby traders can submit regulatory documents to a single location –and trusted trader programs. The subcommittee’s objectives are to simplify and harmonize regional customs procedures to ensure that goods and services move efficiently and safely through the region.
Staff contact: Kristin Isabelli