BIMP-EAGA task force on CIQS beefs up initiatives
Butuan City (March 24) -- The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Task Force on Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) has beefed up its plan of action in the four CIQS areas through various initiatives this year.
In a press statement sent to Philippine News Agency on Monday, Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said CIQS emphasized the need to strengthen institutional consultative and coordination mechanisms and continued conduct of dialogues among CIQS agencies and private sector at the port and sub-regional levels.
"Government cannot do trade facilitation alone. We need to maintain relations and alliances with public and private sector stakeholders, both from the local and international arena," said Morales, who chaired the 5th BIMP-EAGA CIQS Task Force meeting last weekend.
Morales also noted that CIQS standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been formulated by each EAGA member country that will be implemented at each and between entry points (or ports) across BIMP-EAGA, in support to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on CIQS Harmonization.
The CIQS task force reported the establishment of One-Stop CIQS facilities at various designated entry points in EAGA. These include General Santos City Fish Port Complex, Glan, Sarangani, and Brookes Point, Palawan in the Philippines, while new CIQS facilities are expected to be set up in Zamboanga.
One-stop CIQS facilities are also established in Entikong-Tebedu (Malaysia) border crossing, Muara Port (Brunei), Labuan Port (Malaysia), and Sandakan Port (Malaysia).
The CIQS task force also proposed capacity building programs for their respective sectors.
For customs, training on Post Clearance Audit (PCA) Techniques, Ship Search and Goods were identified.
The immigration sector proposed for the conduct of a Training of Trainers capacity building program, while the quarantine sector proposed for the Pest Risk Analysis/Import Risk Analysis and a development program for joint pest surveillance.
The security sector proposed the updating on new International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) regulation and Maritime Security Council Circulars.
The capacity building proposals have been proposed for funding by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other BIMP-EAGA development partners such as China and Japan, but no commitments have been finalized yet.
For its part, the ADB presented during the meeting the results and recommendations Time-Released Study (TRS) which analyzed and identified constraints in import clearance processes.
The TRS was completed in seven EAGA entry points which are Muara Port (Brunei), Brunei International Airport, Labuan (Malaysia) Port, Sandakan Port, Tebedu (Malaysia) Port, General Santos Port, and Zamboanga Port.
Each entry point proposed local measures to address the identified constraints in order to improve the import clearance process which includes simplification and fast-tracking of the clearance process, enhanced Customs and coordination with other government agencies (OGA), among others.
ADB also recommended the conduct of regular TRS every two years to monitor the impact of the trade facilitation measures in terms of reduction in clearance time and standard deviation.
At least 88 delegates representing BIMP-EAGA attended the BIMP-EAGA meeting in General Santos City, including officials from CIQS agencies of the four member countries, and representatives from BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center (BIMP-FC) and ADB. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]