“As our trade and economic ties expand, the fabric of our partnership will be strengthened,” Mrs Lee Ju Song, Director of ICC Asia and Chair of the ICC World Chambers Federation Certificate of Origin Task Force, told the 2009 session of the APEC Customs-Business Dialogue.
“Trade facilitation and co-operation between Customs and Business have come a long way and have intensified over the years for the mutual benefit of both Customs administrations and the business community,” Mrs Lee told the gathering.
Calling the ATA Carnet System “the most successful example of international and regional co-operation” between customs and business, Mrs Lee calls for a programme to be worked out for the early implementation of the ATA Carnet System throughout APEC countries.
Speaking for the business community, Mrs Lee urges the seven APEC countries where the ATA System is not yet in force – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, and Viet Nam – to rapidly join the ATA Carnet chain as it will increase their access to global trade, speed up regional trade and economic co-operation, and create a conducive business environment.
On the issue of Preferential Certificates of Origin (PCO), the ICC executive said that as the number of Free Trade Agreements between countries expands, customs administrations in the APEC region tend to authorize Chambers to issue PCOs.
“Chambers have been issuing Certificates of Origin since April 1898,” Mrs Lee said. As such, they have the expertise and experience, and their neutrality and reputation as trusted third parties in the delivery of certificates of origin give them the credibility and respect as reliable and competent governing agencies’ issuing agents.”
Turning to the issue of Electronic Certificates of Origin (ECO), Mrs Lee said she hoped electronic certificates would be accepted throughout APEC as they facilitate and provide secure trade, help fight fraud, enhance transparency, and improve efficiency.
She said that to keep pace with the rapid shift to e-business, chambers of commerce in Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Peru and Thailand have successfully launched web-based application and certification systems for Certificates of Origin. Singapore launched the world’s first total ECO system in April 2003.