Hong Kong and Korea Customs agree on closer co-operation and mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator programmes (with photos)

     The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Clement Cheung, had a bilateral meeting with the Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service (KCS), Mr Baek Un-chan, at the 31st Customs Cooperation Conference between the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and the KCS held at the Customs Headquarters Building today (February 13).

     The two heads reviewed the development and effectiveness of the co-operation between the C&ED and the KCS in the past year, and discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest including anti-drug enforcement strategies, enforcement against illicit trade in endangered species, the latest developments of respective Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes, and co-operation proposals for enhancing enforcement capability.

     The KCS also introduced "UNI-PASS", an e-Customs clearance system in Korea providing a single window platform for import/export clearance, duty collection and cargo management as well as information management, which greatly improves clearance efficiency and Korea's competitiveness in global trade.

     At the end of the Conference, Mr Cheung and Mr Baek signed an arrangement to mutually recognise their respective AEO programmes.

     Welcoming the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), Mr Cheung said, "This is the third arrangement of a similar nature that we have concluded with other Customs administrations, after the Mainland and India. Under the MRAs, local companies accredited by the C&ED as AEOs can enjoy clearance facilitation, such as reduced examination or prioritised clearance, for their goods imported from or exported to these signatories."

     Mr Cheung added, "The C&ED will continue to take active steps to develop MRAs with Customs administrations of Hong Kong's principal trading partners to assist local traders in accessing overseas markets and bring more business opportunities to the import/export and logistics industries."

     In his closing remarks, Mr Cheung concluded that the Conference has achieved fruitful results and the MRA would bring the co-operation between the two administrations to new heights.

     This Conference is the 31st in a series of annual bilateral meetings held since 1980. It has been instrumental in maintaining genuine friendship and fostering strategic partnership between the two administrations.

Ends/Thursday, February 13, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:45