In 2017, ASEAN economic ministers set the twin goals of reducing trade transaction costs by 10 percent by 2020 and doubling intra-bloc trade between 2017 and 2025. ACTS has been developed to realise this goal to allow businesses to lodge e-transit declarations directly to ASEAN customs authorities and track the movement of their goods from loading to delivery.
Being developed with the support of the European Union, ACTS is simplifying the movement of goods across the region, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
Following trials in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the system has now been formally launched.
The first successful ACTS transit movement occurred on October 23-24 when a truck travelled from Singapore via Malaysia to Thailand.
The system will soon be available in Myanmar, and, depending on business needs, may later be expanded to Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Now transporters can make a single customs transit declaration that covers the transport of goods across multiple countries, without the need to make repeated customs declarations or change vehicles at each border.
Special arrangements allow reliable traders to load their goods at their own premises in the country of departure, and to deliver the goods to their own premises at other places.
Faster customs clearance at borders helps accelerate transit and reduce the time and expenses needed for carrying out regional trade in goods.
Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, said: “The implementation of the ASEAN Customs Transit System plays a vital role in facilitating seamless movement of goods in the region. I believe the system will be an excellent tool in enhancing ASEAN’s trade and production networks as well as establishing a more unified market for its firms and consumers.
“ACTS could also support post-COVID recovery to accelerate the transit movement of medical supplies, vaccines and personal protective equipment within the member states.”
The system is managed by a permanent ACTS central management team based in the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, with support from the EU-funded ARISE Plus programme.
“ACTS is a remarkable achievement that is testament to the strong, dynamic and long-standing partnership between ASEAN and the European Union,” Koen Doens, director general for international cooperation and development at the European Commission, said.
“The EU is proud to have joined ASEAN to make ACTS a reality, providing European technical expertise and 10 million euros since 2012.”
ARISE Plus has provided extensive ACTS training for stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including customs authorities, government transport agencies, freight forwarders, transporters, banks, and insurance companies.