China in AEO talks with Malaysia and Thailand


Containers await shipping at a port in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Photo by WANG XIEYUN/CHINA DAILY]

China has completed initial mutual recognition consultations on the Customs-related Authorized Economic Operator, or AEO, certification program with Malaysia. It is also in talks with Thailand, said a Customs official on Friday.

The AEO program is intended to further enrich the cooperative content in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement framework.

The program is advocated by the World Customs Organization to strengthen international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods.

Under the program, Customs authorities from various countries and regions form partnerships with industry to collaboratively cut barriers to Customs procedures and enhance international trade efficiency, according to information released by the General Administration of Customs.

Among the 14 other RCEP members, China has signed AEO mutual recognition arrangements with five countries, including Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The government is contacting Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines to build fresh AEO partnerships, said Wang Sheng, director-general of the GAC's department of enterprise management and audit-based control.

"China is also communicating with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei, the four countries that have not yet established an AEO system," he said, stressing that the Chinese government is willing to provide capacity-building assistance to help them establish and implement the AEO system, if they have relevant needs and wishes.

Next, the GAC will reinforce AEO mutual recognition cooperation with other RCEP member states, and strive to achieve similar arrangements with all RCEP member countries that have established AEO systems, he said.

Concluded in November 2020, the RCEP is the world's largest free trade agreement aggregating 2.3 billion people with a combined GDP of $26.3 trillion, data from Beijing-based China Chamber of International Commerce showed.

China has signed AEO agreements with Customs authorities in 46 countries and regions to facilitate Customs clearance for companies.

It had 28,473 AEO certification holders as at the end of June. Their volume of exports and imports accounted for about 53 percent of China's total foreign trade in the first half of this year, according to Customs data.

Wang Zhi, director-general of Nanning Customs, said the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region-based Customs district will better facilitate trade activities between China and the member economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Customs district has also upgraded the China-ASEAN cooperation information website on quality supervision, inspection and quarantine into a smart platform this year.

The aim is to make it more convenient to search relevant laws and rules, reports and reviews, trade focus details and risk information to ship products to China.

Apart from clarifying the entry conditions for animals, food and plants, as well as other related products, the website offers details on supervision requirements and documents of relevant rules and laws.