The European Union hosted the 10th ASEM Customs-Trade Day and the 13th meeting of ASEM Working Group on Customs Matters in Brussels, Belgium, from 1 to 3 July 2019.

The 13th meeting of the ASEM Working Group on Customs Matters reported on the progress made on the actions adopted at the 12th ASEM Customs DG-Commissioners’ Meeting that took place in Berlin, Germany on 16-17 October 2017. It also launched the discussions on the new action plan to be finalised at the upcoming Customs Directors-General/Commissioners Meeting that will take place in Viet Nam in October 2019.

Background Information

On 21 June 1996 the ASEM Directors-General and Commissioners of Customs met in Shenzhen, China for the 1st time. They set the objectives and modalities of our cooperation. Since then, the Customs Directors-General hold meetings every 2 years, where they set out work programmes for the next 2-year period. These work programmes consist of a list of actions agreed by consensus. Usually, 1 coordinator is appointed from both the Asian side and the European side for each action, and they take responsibility together for making sure the action is carried out. The action can take different forms, e.g. joint customs operations, surveys, best practice guide, analysis.

In between these Customs Directors-General meetings, the ASEM Working Group on Customs Matters (AGC) is the forum in which customs experts from the ASEM Partners gather together first to present the detailed plan for the action, then to report on the progress they have made on the actions set out by the Customs Directors-General. The ASEM Working Group meetings are held annually, with the host again alternating between Europe and Asia and also include a Customs’ Trade Day on a topic selected by the hosting country.