Reaching the New Frontier of Thai Customs
Reaching the New Frontier of Thai Customs
A special article by Dr. Somchai Sujjapongse, Director General of the Thai Customs Department
Moving towards the RKC
After several years of pushing forwards tobecome a contracting party of the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention: RKC), Thai Customs officially became the 100th member of the RKC since the Instrument of Accession was deposited with the WCO Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, during the 125th/126th Sessions of the Customs Co-operation Council on 12 June 2015.
After acceding to the Convention, it is necessary for Thai Customs to comply with Article 3 of the Convention which refers to the acceptance of the Body and the General Annex of the Convention. However, prior to of the accession to the RKC, Thai Customs must amend its national laws and regulations to be in line with the RKC provision.
This is another historical chapter of Thai Customs and it is an important step to streamline and modernize Customs systems which will bear fruit for lifting the competitiveness of entreprises. Furthermore, the revision of national laws/regulations also expedites the import/export procedures and increases the predictability and transparency of Customs procedures, for example; the implementation/revision of advance rulings, de minimis value, outward processing, and duty exemption in returnable box.
It is obvious that becoming the contracting party of the RKC is an economic accelerator for the country as well as its trade partners. However, it is undeniable that further improvement of the investment environment and trade facilitation is still required.
Building up Business Partnership through AEOs
Recently, Thai Customs signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Authorized Economic Operators Programme with Hong Kong Customs. This MRA mainly aims to maximize trade facilitation for the business as it is expected to expedite the Customs clearance for AEOs members while ensuring security in the supply chain .
AEO Programs reflect the importance of building up partnerships with businesses. Operators who redesign their security processes to meet the Customs standards and criteria as authorized operators enjoy certain privileges in the Customs clearance process. This minimizes time in inspecting and releasing cargo, including fewer documents.
In the near future, Thai Customs also plans to further expand its AEO programme by signing MRAs with new partner countries. Currently, they are cooperating with Korean Customs Service to follow up the action plan for concluding an MRA. Even though Thai Customs has recently started up its AEO programme, it is undeniable that companies are increasingly interested in becoming AEO members.
Coordination with otherAgencies
As the importance of virtual integration of government agencies grows more and more, Thailand is currently investing in the ‘National Single Window’ system. The system has been established to create a single entry point where related government agencies can exchange import/export-related information with each other by interfacing through this platform.
Besides the National Single Window, ASEAN member states are in a pilot phase to integrate their Nationals Single Windows. This so called ‘ASEAN Single Window’, is an integrated platform where each Customs agency in ASEAN Member States can exchange and retrieve all necessary information related to importation and exportation. The pilot phase is expected to be completed this year. The system will not only benefit Customs Administrations, but will also further improve the business environment and economic competitiveness for the region. We believe that the implementation of the ASEAN Single Window will significantly increase trade volume within ASEAN Member States.
Over the past decades, since the establishment of Thai Customs in 1874 A.D., it has shifted the scope of responsibilities from revenue collection to social protection and international trade facilitation. This year, in accordance with the WCO’s scheme, CBM-Coordinated Border Management, Thai Customs is ready to implement new measures to respond to the emerging challenges and changing global trends.