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Stronger Asean, Russia Customs, trade ties sought

Stronger Asean, Russia Customs, trade ties sought

Russia : The Department of Finance (DOF) has called on the Russian Federation to strengthen its cooperation with the Asean to improve Customs administration and enhance economic ties within regions.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has called for closer cooperation between the Russian Federation and Asean in the field of Customs administration to likewise boost economic ties between the two major global trade hubs.

During a recent meeting with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev, Dominguez suggested that the head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation take a tour of the countries comprising the Asean as a way to begin the process of establishing stronger Customs ties with economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“He [the head of the Russian Federal Customs Service] can make a tour of Asean, and maybe if there’s an Asean meeting of Customs officials, we can invite him as a special guest,” Dominguez said.

Russia and the Philippines have an existing Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement signed in 2013, which aims to promote cooperation between the Customs agencies of the two countries to help fight transnational crimes and commercial fraud, and prevent customs offenses.

Khovaev welcomed the finance chief’s suggestion as a way to boost Russia’s ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region as he underscored Russia’s “interest in building a solid partnership” with the Philippines.

Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña visited Moscow in October last year to discuss with Russian officials measures to further strengthen cooperation on Customs administration concern.

The Philippines and Russia forged several agreements following the visit of President Duterte in Moscow last May 2017, including: the Agreement on Defense Cooperation; Tourism Joint Action Program 2017-2019; Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Industry Development, MOU on Agriculture Cooperation; Agreement on Exchange of Intelligence Information; and Agreement on Cooperation on Transportation.

The Philippines, along with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam comprise the Asean.

In March this year, Dominguez instructed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to set up data exchange arrangements with South Korea, Japan and the United States (US) to ensure the seamless exchange of trade-related information between the Philippines and these major trading partners.

The BOC pointed out that similar to the one that Lapeña forged with China in terms of data exchange, the DOF is instructing the bureau to also forge arrangements with the major trading partners of the Philippines for the timely exchange of data.

China, South Korea, Japan and the US represent the Philippines’ top four trading partners that the finance chief wants the bureau to closely work with in monitoring shipments and checking discrepancies in trade data.

The data exchange parameters include data on the volume and value of goods exported by these countries to the Philippines and the import volumes from these countries reported by revenue authorities in the Philippines to check against possible illegal trade practices.