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U.S. Companies Discuss Customs Modernization and Trade Facilitation with ASEAN Customs DGs

(Phnom Penh)- The US-ASEAN Business Council is conducting its annual business mission to the 25th Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs in Cambodia this week. This is the 20th consecutive year the Council has held its annual consultation with all 10 ASEAN Directors-General of Customs to discuss the progress of ASEAN’s trade facilitation efforts. The Council’s delegation of 12 leading U.S. companies is led by Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council and Shiumei Lin, Vice President of Public Affairs for UPS and Chair of the Council’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee.

“The US-ASEAN Business Council is pleased to see the high priority placed on reducing border and behind-the-border barriers in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025. We are eager to strengthen cooperation between the private sector and ASEAN Customs,” said Ambassador Michalak. “An efficient and accessible customs regime that can promote trade while still protecting borders will be critical to the success of the ASEAN Economic Community.”

During the meeting, the delegation will exchange views and experiences with the assembled Directors-General on how ASEAN countries can help capture the value of newly evolving patterns in international trade and strengthen regional supply chains. The delegation will emphasize how customs bureaus can meet the new challenges and opportunities of cross-border e-commerce, better track shipments to ensure quality and compliance, and continue improving valuation methodologies.

“e-Commerce is creating tremendous growth opportunities for ASEAN businesses, instantaneously integrating our companies, many of them small and medium enterprises (SMEs), into the regional and global marketplace,” said Shiumei Lin. “Customs Administrations throughout the world are important stakeholders in the success of e-Commerce, enabling the critical fulfillment of the purchases. The Council’s members look forward to enhancing collaboration with ASEAN Directors-General of Customs to facilitate import of low-value shipments, simplify trade, and manage border risks.”

The delegation will hold bilateral meetings with the Customs Directors-General from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to discuss business operations in their countries as well as officials from the ASEAN Secretariat.

Companies participating in the delegation include Ford, General Motors, Harley-Davidson, KPMG, Philip Morris International, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Qualcomm, RMA Group, Seagate, Smiths Detection, and UPS.


For over 30 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's 150+ membership generates over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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