Authorised Economic Operator Expert Mission and Symposium for ASEAN and Hong Kong, China, 29 – 30 November 2023

The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Expert Mission and Symposium for ASEAN and Hong Kong, China was held in Hong Kong, China, on 29 – 30 November 2023 and attended by representatives from the ASEAN Member States, Customs administrations of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao and members of the private sector in Hong Kong, China. The event was supported by the Work Programme of the Economic and Technical Cooperation under the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA).

The symposium was opened by Mr. Algernon Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the latest economic development of Hong Kong including the cooperation between ASEAN and Hong Kong, China through the AHKFTA, and the role of Customs through AEO in facilitating global trade. Ms. Louise Ho, Commissioner of Customs and Excise highlighted that with the distinctive advantages of enjoying the strong support of China and being closely connected to the world, it is important for Hong Kong, China to maintain a close connection with ASEAN Member States, Mainland China and Macao in ensuring the smooth operation of the global supply chain and facilitating legitimate trade.

Mr. Cuong Ba Tran, Head of the Trade Facilitation Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, in his opening remark, highlighted the recent achievements of ASEAN including the ASEAN AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangements (AAMRA). The AEO-MRAs simplify compliance requirements, foster regulatory cooperation, and create trusted relationships within global supply chains, multiplying the value of trust across multiple partnerships.

Mr. Vong Man-chong, Director General of Macao Customs Service, and Mr. Zhu Fang, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Enterprise Management and Audit-based Control of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) also delivered their keynote remarks.

During the event, the ASEAN Member States and Hong Kong Customs exchanged their best practices for the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programmes under the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards. Hong Kong Customs also successfully concluded Action Plans for AEO MRA with the customs administrations of Cambodia and the Philippines. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing AEO cooperation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) among Mainland China Customs, Hong Kong Customs, and Macao Customs was signed. The recent development of the GBA has demonstrated that advancing the value chain is the key to economic improvement and a source of growth.

Since the launch of the Hong Kong AEO Programme in 2012, Hong Kong Customs has signed AEO MRAs with 14 customs administrations worldwide, including with China, India, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, and Macao, China. Under these MRAs, AEOs from signatory economies enjoy simplified customs procedures including reduced inspection rates and prioritised clearance which will lower the transaction cost.

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