Foreign Trade Developments in Asia

Click on any of the following to see the latest foreign trade developments in that region:
Central Asia
East Asia
South Asia
Southeast Asia

Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and Bangladesh signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) in late May
The MOU provides for the creation of committees that will seek to determine ways to facilitate greater Bangladesh access to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) market and economic cooperation between the EAEU and Bangladesh.
For more information, see “Deal Signed for Export Privileges to Eurasia,” June 4, 2019, https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/deal-signed-export-privileges-eurasia-1753228.

ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) takes effect
The AHKFTA, which was signed in November 2017, entered into force on June 11, 2019, for the governments of Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. It will take effect in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines once their governments complete the ratification processes. Under the agreement, ASEAN member states will reduce tariffs on Hong Kong commodities over varying time periods and Hong Kong will remove tariffs on all goods originating from ASEAN member states following the FTA’s entry into force. ASEAN and Hong Kong governments also will remove non-tariff barriers (NTBs), improve access for intra-regional service providers, strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary cooperation, and address other matters affecting trade.
For more information, see “ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement Enters into Force,” June 11, 2019, https://asean.org/asean-hong-kong-china-free-trade-agreement-enters-force/, and “Asean-Hong Kong FTA Enters Force to Begin Intra-Regional Tariff Removals,” June 12, 2019, https://www.gtreview.com/news/asia/asean-hong-kong-fta-enters-force-to-begin-intra-regional-tariff-removals/.

Central Asia

Kazakhstan suspended transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Russia to Ukraine in May
The decision came after Russia banned LPG exports to Ukraine starting June 1, absent a permit from the Russia government.
For more information, see “Russia Halts Transit of Kazakh LPG and Coal to Ukraine: Document,” May 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-ukraine-kazakhstan-lpg/russia-halts-transit-of-kazakh-lpg-and-coal-to-ukraine-document-idUSKCN1SX161.

Kazakhstan simplified customs rules to encourage e-commerce
The Kazakhstan government announced in May that it had simplified customs rules for online stores. Online stores now can use postal documents issued by the national mail service, Kazpost, to ship their packages as part of the customs declaration process.
For more information, see “Kazakhstan’s National Mail Carrier Launches Services to Boost E-Commerce,” June 3, 2019, https://astanatimes.com/2019/06/kazakhstans-national-mail-carrier-launches-services-to-boost-e-commerce/.

Kazakhstan initiated Single Window system in June
Import and export documentation reportedly is available through the system, and traders can submit license or permit applications and other documents to multiple agencies through it. The system is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019.
For more information, see “Kazakhstan Launches ‘Single Window’ Process for All Import-Export Documents,” June 9, 2019, https://astanatimes.com/2019/06/kazakhstan-launches-single-window-process-for-all-import-export-documents/.

Kazakhstan and Japan officials met in June to discuss Kazakh exports of horse meat to Japan
The Kazakhstan Ambassador to Japan and the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare met on June 14 to discuss the trade. Their discussions related primarily to the exchange of draft veterinary certificates.
For more information, see “Kazakhstan to Export Horse Meat to Japan,” June 18, 2019, https://astanatimes.com/2019/06/kazakhstan-to-export-horse-meat-to-japan/.

Kazakhstan Ministry of Trade and Integration and Ministry of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources created in June
The Kazakhstan President ordered their establishment on June 17. The Ministry of Trade and Integration will assume selected responsibilities of the Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources will assume certain responsibilities of the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development.
For more information, see “Kazakh President Creates New Trade and Ecology Ministries, Appoints New Ministers,” June 20, 2019, https://astanatimes.com/2019/06/kazakh-president-creates-new-trade-and-ecology-ministries-appoints-new-ministers/.

Kazakhstan ratified trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran in June
The agreement will result in lower import duties on both sides. The agreement, signed in May 2018, is expected to enter into force in 2019.
For more information, see “Kazakhstan and Iran Strengthen Trade Ties,” June 21, 2019, https://kazakh-tv.kz/en/view/business/page_203647_kazakhstan-and-iran-strengthen-trade-ties.

Kazakhstan ratified trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China in June
The Kazakhstan President ratified the deal on June 25, 2019. The purpose of the agreement is to increase trade in the agriculture, energy, transport, technology, and other industry sectors. It envisions the simplification of technical, sanitary, and phytosanitary regulations and enhanced customs cooperation.
For more information, see “Pres. Tokayev Ratifies EAEU Deal, Hoping to Boost Kazakhstan’s Trade with China,” June 26, 2019, https://caspiannews.com/news-detail/pres-tokayev-ratifies-eaeu-deal-hoping-to-boost-kazakhstans-trade-with-china-2019-6-26-30/.

Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons ratified by Kazakhstan in July
The President of Kazakhstan signed a law July 3, 2019, ratifying the treaty. The treaty calls for the comprehensive and universal prohibition on nuclear weapons development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use, and threat of force.
For more information, see “Kazakhstan Ratifies Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” July 6, 2019, https://astanatimes.com/2019/07/kazakhstan-ratifies-treaty-on-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons/.

Kyrgyzstan and India took steps to advance trade cooperation in June
Indian and Kyrgyz leaders issued a five-year road map to stimulate bilateral trade, inaugurated the India-Kyrgyz Business Forum, and agreed on the final form of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and bilateral investment treaty.
For more information, see “India-Kyrgyzstan 5-Yr Road Map to Raise Trade: Modi,” June 19, 2019, https://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/india-kyrgyzstan-5-yr-road-map-to-raise-trade-modi-250072-newsdetails.htm.

New law on emergency powers adopted in Tajikistan in May
The Tajikistan parliament adopted legislation allowing for imposition of martial law, empowering intelligence agents to operate domestically, prohibiting the purchase and sale of arms, and stopping people from entering or leaving the country.
For more information, see “Tajikistan Adopts Laws on Emergency Powers, Spying,” May 30, 2019, https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-adopts-laws-on-emergency-powers-spying.

Turkmenistan and Afghanistan advanced customs and trade cooperation in June
The Turkmenistan parliament ratified a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that was signed in early 2019, and the sides signed agreements on customs cooperation, air traffic, cooperation in the oil and gas and electricity sectors, and the Aqina-Andkhoy and Turghundi-Herat railway projects.
For more information, see “Turkmenistan Ratifies Agreement on Strategic Partnership with Afghanistan,” June 11, 2019, https://www.azernews.az/region/151931.html; “Turkmenistan Ratifies Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan,” June 10, 2019, https://en.trend.az/casia/turkmenistan/3074523.html; and “Turkmenistan, Afghanistan Sign Agreement on Expansion of TAPI Pipeline Construction Project,” June 17, 2019, https://akipress.com/news:620768:Turkmenistan,_Afghanistan_sign_agreement_on_expansion_of_TAPI_pipeline_construction_project/.

Uzbekistan government announced subsidies for domestic exporters in May
Subsidies are available for a number of different categories of exporters. The presidential decree announcing the policy stated that up to 50 percent of costs would be compensated for domestic exporters that exported their goods by rail to countries other than neighboring ones. Additionally, companies exporting finished goods could be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the amount of pre-export loans.
For more information, see “Uzbekistan to Subsidize Domestic Exporters to Attract Foreign Investment and Boost Export,” May 26, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/26/c_138090949.htm.

Navoi territory of Uzbekistan designated free economic zone in May
The President of Uzbekistan issued a decree making the designation on May 15. Navoi is the largest region in Uzbekistan and host to a number of major Uzbekistan enterprises as well as Navoi International Airport. The purpose of the decision is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in export-oriented and import-substituting firms and to develop transport and other infrastructure.
For more information, see “Uzbekistan Has Declared Its Largest Region a Free Economic Zone,” May 28, 2019, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/uzbekistan-has-declared-its-largest-79273/.

Afghanistan-Uzbekistan trade zone established in Termez, Uzbekistan
The government of Uzbekistan established the trade zone in the Termez Cargo Center terminal in May 2019. Its purpose is to expedite paperwork for and facilitate trade between the neighboring countries. The Termez Cargo Center terminal is capable of processing greater quantities of import and export goods than any other facility in Uzbekistan.
For more information, see “How Trade Shapes Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Relations,” June 24, 2019, https://thediplomat.com/2019/06/how-trade-shapes-afghanistan-uzbekistan-relations/.

East Asia

China restricted exports of fentanyl in April
China announced on April 1, 2019, that it would curb the export of fentanyl-related drugs. Starting May 1, all Fentanyl-related substances were added to a list of controlled narcotics and psychotropic drugs without medical use. The action was a response to U.S. concerns about the relationship of the substance to the opioid crisis.
For more information, see “China Agrees to Tighten Curbs on Fentanyl after U.S. Calls for Action over Opioid Epidemic,” April 1, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/01/china-fentanyl-after-opioid-epidemic-1308684.

China established two new customs offices in April
China established new customs offices in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar and in China’s northern province of Tianjin on April 18, 2019. The aim of the offices is to promote trade between China and Mongolia.
For more information, see “Liaison Offices for Customs Clearance Established in Tianjin and Mongolia,” April 19, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-04/19/c_137991710.htm.

China began accepting applications for scrap metal import licenses starting in May
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment began accepting import license applications for specific scrap metals at the end of May. Imports of high-grade scrap copper, aluminum, and steel were severely restricted starting July 1, 2019.
For more information, see “China to Collect Applications for Scrap Metal Import Licences from Next Month, Trade Group Says,” April 20, 2019, https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3006990/china-collect-applications-scrap-metal-import-licences-next.

China announced origin of ASF outbreak and new measures against it
At an international ASF forum held in Ottawa on April 30-May 1, 2019, China announced that the outbreak of ASF, a potentially lethal virus that affects domestic pigs and wild boar, originated in the country through infected meat imports. The forum further created a framework for attempting to prevent the spread of ASF to North America. The framework outlined procedures for biosecurity and communication regarding ASF.
For more information, see “China Links ASF to Infected Meat,” May 9, 2019, https://www.producer.com/2019/05/china-links-asf-to-infected-meat/.

China increased refined fuel export quota for 2019
The government of China announced on May 17, 2019, a 30% increase in refined fuel export quotas for 2019. The new quota allows for 23.79 million tons of oil product exports, including a 9.09 million ton quota for gasoline that is double the fuel export quota issued in December 2018. The quota increase is attributed to the opening of a new privately owned refinery.
For more information, see “China Raises Fuel Export Quotas 30% in Latest 2019 Allocation,” May 17, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-oil-export-quotas/china-raises-fuel-export-quotas-30-in-latest-2019-allocation-idUSKCN1SN0XQ.

China approved durian imports from Malaysia
The General Administration of Customs in China approved the import of whole frozen durian from Malaysia on May 30, 2019, after an agreement was signed in August 2018.
For more information, see “China Approves Imports of Frozen Durian from Malaysia,” June 1, 2019, https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/493165/china-approves-import-frozen-durian-malaysia.

Hong Kong and Australia signed free trade agreement (FTA) in April
Australia and Kong signed a free trade agreement and investment agreement on March 26, 2019, after two years of negotiations. The agreement eliminates tariffs and provides the sides with greater access to service markets. It also streamlines rules governing trade and investment, particularly with respect to data storage and information sharing.
For more information, see “Hong Kong and Australia Sign Free Trade Deal,” April 2, 2019, https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2019/april/hong-kong-and-australia-sign-free-trade-deal/.

Hong Kong Customs purchased new equipment to fight sea smuggling
Hong Kong Customs announced the purchase of 12 new high-pursuit boats designed to combat maritime smuggling. The boats are valued at HK$169 million (US$21 million) and were purchased to replace the existing fleet. Four of the vessels were put into place this summer, and the final eight will begin operations early next year.
For more information, see “Hong Kong Police and Customs Get New US$21.5 Million Sea Weapon to Fight Smugglers,” May 12, 2019, https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-police-us-21-092047198.html.

Japan introduces new electronic customs declaration system
The Ministry of Finance announced a new electronic customs declaration system on April 3, 2019, to be used in airports across Japan. The system, which includes facial recognition software, was first implemented on April 15 in Narita Airport and gradually will be implemented in other airports over the next year. The system is designed to make customs procedures more efficient and ease congestion in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
For more information, see “Japan to Introduce Electronic Customs Declaration System,” April 3, 2019, https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2019040300418/japan-to-introduce-electronic-customs-declaration-system.html.

China and Japan implement AEO customs agreement
China and Japan began to implement a mutual authorized economic operator (AEO) customs agreement signed on June 1, 2019. The agreement allows AEOs in each country to enjoy simplified customs procedures, such as fewer inspections and prioritized customs clearance, when they export goods to the other country.
For more information, see “China, Japan to Implement AEO Customs Agreement in June,” April 25, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-04/25/c_138008992.htm.

Japan ended restrictions on imports of U.S. beef in May
Japan agreed on May 17, 2019, to lift trade restrictions on imports of U.S. beef over 30 months old. The restriction was put in place in 2005 in response to an outbreak of mad cow disease.
For more information, see “Japan Ends Longstanding Trade Restrictions on American Beef, Setting Stage for Exports to Grow,” May 17, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/17/japan-ends-longstanding-trade-restrictions-on-american-beef-usda.html.

Japan Customs became part of the CHAMP system in May
Japan Customs joined the CHAMP Cargosystems Traxon Global Customs Program in May. The program allows carriers to submit advance cargo information and flight information directly to Japan Customs. Japan Customs began requiring the submission of advance cargo information in March 2019.
For more information, see “Japan Customs Integrated into CHAMP Platform,” May 21, 2019, https://aircargoworld.com/allposts/japan-customs-integrated-into-champ-platform/.

Japanese government plans to streamline farm export procedures
The Japanese government announced on June 4, 2019, that it would centralize the agricultural export process by spring 2020. The purpose of the decision is to reduce export processing times by clarifying the responsibilities of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Changes also will include allowing private-sector companies to conduct food safety inspections.
For more information, see “Japan to Streamline Farm Export Procedures by Next Spring,” June 4, 2019, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190604/p2g/00m/0bu/065000c.

South Korea and Colombia sign three memoranda of understanding to facilitate trade and cooperation
One memorandum of understanding (MOU) seeks to facilitate the application of cooperation and mutual assistance within the governments’ 2016 free trade agreement (FTA). Under the other MOUs, the governments of South Korea and Colombia will promote trade, increase investment, and diversify areas in which they cooperate.
For more information, see “Colombia and South Korea Sign Cooperation Agreements,” May 7, 2019, https://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=274920&SEO=colombia-y-surcorea-suscriben-acuerdos-de-cooperacion.

Korea Customs Service (KCS) signs agreements to support AEO certification for SMEs
On April 16, 2019, KCS signed an agreement with Korea Western Power Development to support authorized economic operator (AEO) certification for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It also signed an agreement on the same subject matter on May 27, 2019, with the Ulsan Metropolitan City. These efforts are aimed at boosting exports.
For more information, see “Korea Customs Service, Western Power, and Small and Medium Enterprises,” May 16, 2019, http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/cop/bbs/selectBoard.do?bbsId=BBSMSTR_1018&nttId=4448&layoutMenuNo=294&siteId=main&searchCtgry=&searchCnd=&searchWrd=&currentPageNo=2&recordCountPerPage=10, and “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Supported by the Korea Customs Service and Ulsan Metropolitan City to Enter into Overseas Market,” May 27, 2019, http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/cop/bbs/selectBoard.do?bbsId=BBSMSTR_1018&nttId=4451&layoutMenuNo=294&siteId=main&searchCtgry=&searchCnd=&searchWrd=&currentPageNo=2&recordCountPerPage=10.

South Korea increases fines for travelers arriving with pork products in an effort to combat African swine fever (ASF)
Beginning in June 2019, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) will impose strict fines on any traveler that brings pork products to South Korea. These penalties will be heftier if the products came from regions infected with the ASF virus.
For more information, see “South Korea to Increase Fines for Travelers Carrying Pork Products,” May 21, 2019, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3707443.

Korea Customs Service (KCS) revises import customs clearance notice
The revision mandates the use of a unique personal clearance code in general import declarations. The code can be used in a variety of ways, including to provide tax exemptions, confirm the consignee accurately, check on the status of customs clearance, and enable goods to be cleared promptly.
For more information, see “Changed to Mandatory Entry for Unique Personal Clearance Code,” May 28, 2019, http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/cop/bbs/selectBoard.do?bbsId=BBSMSTR_1018&nttId=4453&layoutMenuNo=294&siteId=main&searchCtgry=&searchCnd=&searchWrd=&currentPageNo=2&recordCountPerPage=10.

South Korea and the United Kingdom (UK) sign trade continuity statement
On June 10, 2019, the governments signed a joint statement that expresses their intention for a trade continuity agreement following Brexit. Such an agreement enables businesses in South Korea and the UK to continue preferential trading.
For more information, see “UK and Korea Sign Joint Statement for Trade Continuity,” June 10, 2019, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-korea-sign-joint-statement-for-trade-continuity.

South Korea amends enforcement regulations for imported food act
Effective June 19, 2019, a new sanitation assessment on imported foods is required whenever exporters request special management, risk indicators are triggered, or applicable food standards have changed in their country of origin. The food that is subject to “special management” consists of food products, such as fish head and internal organs, used as food in South Korea but not used as food in an exporting country. Among other changes to the enforcement regulations is the removal of a requirement to obtain a halal certificate for importing halal food products.
For more information, see “Stricter Import Rules: South Korea Upgrades Enforcement Regulations for Inbound Food Products,” July 10, 2019, https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/07/10/Stricter-import-rules-South-Korea-upgrades-enforcement-regulations-for-inbound-food-products.

South Korea and Bangladesh sign three instruments for strengthening bilateral cooperation
The areas to be strengthened are culture, diplomacy, investment, and trade.
For more information, see “Dhaka, Seoul Sign 3 Instruments,” July 14, 2019, https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2019/07/14/dhaka-seoul-sign-3-instruments.

WTO approved Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau & Hong Kong in April
The World Trade Organization (WTO) reviewed and approved the Hong Kong-Macau CEPA during a meeting of the Commission on Regional Trade Agreements on April 1, 2019. The agreement, which was signed on October 27, 2017, went into force on January 1, 2018. Under the agreement, the parties are exempt from each other’s customs duties and cannot impose anti-dumping duties on one another.
For more information, see “WTO Reviews and Approves the Hong Kong-Macau CEPA Agreement,” April 4, 2019, https://macauhub.com.mo/2019/04/04/pt-omc-aprecia-e-aprova-o-acordo-cepa-hong-kong-macau/.

Taiwan will strengthen rules on egg imports
The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new regulations on the import of egg and egg products that will go into effect in August 2019. Under the new regulations, importers will be required to provide a document from the source country guaranteeing the safety of products. The FDA also announced that it implemented new inspection measures in January 2019.
For more information, see “Taiwan to Toughen Rules on Eggs Import,” May 20, 2019, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3706711.

South Asia

Turkey & Bangladesh signed medical trade agreement
The Turkey Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) and the Bangladesh Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on April 8, 2019, that allows for the exchange of pharmaceuticals and health services.
For more information, see “Turkey, Bangladesh Broaden Pharmaceutical Cooperation with New Agreements,” April 10, 2019, https://www.dailysabah.com/business/2019/04/10/turkey-bangladesh-broaden-pharmaceutical-cooperation-with-new-agreements.

Bangladesh raised rice import duties
The Bangladesh National Board of Revenue announced on May 22, 2019, that it would double the import duty on rice from 28% to 55%. In addition to the import duty, rice importers must pay a 25% regulatory duty and a 5% advance income tax.
For more information, see “Govt Doubles Import Duties on Rice to 55%,” May 22, 2019, https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/government-affairs/2019/05/22/govt-increase-duty-on-rice-import.

India imposed anti-dumping duty on ethylene vinyl acetate sheet from selected countries
The Indian Department of Revenue announced in April 2019 that it was imposing an anti-dumping duty of US$1,559 per ton of ethylene vinyl acetate sheet (used in the manufacture of solar cells) imported from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand. The duty will be in place for five years.
For more information, see “India Levies Anti-Dumping Duty on Solar Cell Components from Four Nations,” April 1, 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/india-levies-anti-dumping-duty-on-solar-cell-component-from-four-nations/articleshow/68668956.cms.

India lowered duties on corn imports
The Indian government announced in April that it would allow poultry producers and starch manufacturers to import up to 100,000 tons of corn at a reduced import duty. The duty was lowered to 15% for qualifying importers, as opposed to the normal duty of 60%. However, the imported corn must be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
For more information, see “India Allows 100,000 Tonnes of Corn Imports at Lower Duty,” April 4, 2019, https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/india-allows-100000-tonnes-of-corn-imports-at-lower-duty-3762321.html.

Indian government suspended import permits to tech companies for e-waste violations in April
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India suspended import permits for 10 technology companies, including Apple and Samsung, on April 4, 2019. The Indian government stated that the suspension was due to violations of extended producer responsibility clauses centered on the management of e-waste.
For more information, see “Apple, Samsung in a Jam with Imports Held up at Customs,” April 12, 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/apple-samsung-in-a-jam-with-imports-held-up-at-customs/articleshow/68842287.cms.

India suspended Kashmir border trade with Pakistan in April
The Indian government announced on April 18, 2019, that all border trade with Pakistan through the line of control in Kashmir was suspended until further notice. The decision was made based on government reports stating that a large amount of the trade occurring on the line of control, which uses a barter system, was linked to militant organizations. The Indian government announced that the border would be closed until it could put into place a stricter inspection mechanism.
For more information, see “India Suspends Kashmir Border Trade with Pakistan,” April 19, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190419-india-suspends-kashmir-border-trade-with-pakistan.

India increased wheat import duty in April
The Indian government raised its import duty on wheat from 30% to 40% on April 26, 2019. The change was an effort to help local farmers, as wheat prices in India have dropped in 2019 due to a surplus.
For more information, see “India Hikes Wheat Import Duty to Support Local Farmers,” April 27, 2019, https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/india-hikes-wheat-import-duty-to-support-local-farmers-3902221.html.

India removed customs checks for Nepal-bound goods in May
Third-country rail cargo transiting the Indian ports of Kolkata and Visag en route to Nepal will no longer require Indian customs clearance. The ports recently introduced an Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) that eliminates the need for customs checks for products going to Nepal from a third-country exporter. The ECTS enables the tracking of an electronic seal applied to a container that allows for free movement across borders and detection of tampering.
For more information, see “Electronic Cargo Tracking System at Kolkata Port Does away with Customs Check for Nepal-Bound Freight,” May 7, 2019, https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/electronic-cargo-tracking-system-at-kolkata-port-does-away-with-customs-check-for-nepal-bound-freight/article27060973.ece.

India lifted restrictions on exports to Maldives
On May 7, 2019, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced that exports of essential commodities to the Maldives would be exempted from domestic restrictions. These commodities include potatoes, onions, rice, wheat flour, sugar, dal, and eggs. The fixed export quantities allowed for these commodities were also increased compared to the previous year.
For more information, see “India Lifts Restriction on Exports to Maldives,” May 8, 2019, https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/india-lifts-restrictions-on-exports-to-maldives-143646.

India blocked customs clearance for oil trucks destined for Nepal in May
India blocked the customs clearance of 73 oil tankers destined for Nepal at the Panitanki customs checkpoint in West Bengal for four days in May. Indian Customs held the tankers due to problems with the launch of a new online customs entry system. As a result, all fuel stations in the easternmost Mechi zone of Nepal were shut down until the tankers could arrive.
For more information, see “Fuel Shortage in Eastern Nepal as Indian Customs Block 73 Tankers,” May 28, 2019, https://english.onlinekhabar.com/fuel-shortage-in-eastern-nepal-as-indian-customs-block-73-tankers.html.

Maldives no longer requires persons to obtain an import/export license
As of April 2019, the Maldives Ministry of Economic Development no longer requires persons to obtain an import/export license in order to import, export, or re-export goods to or from the Maldives. Now persons seeking to import, export, or re-export goods are required only to register with the Maldives Customs Service. Customers with import/export licenses will be able to continue using them through the end of the year.
For more information, see “Import, Export Licenses No Longer Required to Seek Service,” April 13, 2019, https://avas.mv/en/62886.

Tatopani customs checkpoint in Nepal reopened in May
The Tatopani customs checkpoint in Nepal, on the border with China, reopened on May 20, 2019. The checkpoint had been closed since suffering heavy damage in the 2015 earthquake.
For more information, see “Tatopani Customs to Resume Operation on May 20,” May 10, 2019, https://english.onlinekhabar.com/tatopani-customs-to-resume-operation-on-may-20.html.

Pakistan decreased restrictions on some imports during April-June period
In April, the government of Pakistan announced a relaxation of conditions governing imports of fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) and food products until June 30, 2019. The government relaxed the requirement to print labels in English and Urdu and allowed imported goods to have 50% of shelf life instead of 66%.
For more information, see “Conditions Imposed on Imported Items Relaxed,” April 10, 2019, https://fp.brecorder.com/2019/04/20190410462828/.

Pakistan Customs developed policies to combat currency smuggling
Pakistan Customs announced a number of new policy initiatives to combat terrorism financing through currency smuggling. The most significant initiative was the creation of a directorate for cross-border currency movement that was tasked with creating a profile of currency traffickers.
For more information, see “Customs Introduces Policy to Curb Terror Financing,” May 12, 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1481727.

Pakistan Customs launched new customs clearance system
Pakistan Customs launched a new customs clearance system, “WeBOC Global,” on May 13, 2019. WeBOC Global includes an electronic data interchange system, quota management of bulk export cargo, and automation of exemption certificates. The goal of the new system is to decrease clearance times from five days to one.
For more information, see “Customs Launches Clearance System,” May 14, 2019, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/470937-customs-launches-clearance-system.

Sri Lanka opened China-assisted rail line
Sri Lanka opened a new railway line connecting the coastal cities of Matara and Beliatta in the south on April 8, 2019. The railway line, which is the first railway extension to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948, was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and was constructed by the Sri Lanka Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau and the China Railway Group 5.
For more information, see “Sri Lanka Opens New Railway Line Built with China’s Assistance,” April 9, 2019, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/sri-lanka-opens-new-railway-line-built-with-chinas-assistance/articleshow/68796380.cms.

Southeast Asia

Brunei signs protocol agreement with China on exports of wild aquatic products
The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of biosecurity inspection, quarantine, and veterinary sanitary requirements for wild aquatic products. The agreement is deemed a requisite to facilitate the export of such products from Brunei to China.
For more information, see “China, Brunei Sign Agreement to Promote Aquatic Food Trade,” June 26, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/26/c_138173310.htm.

Cambodia opens trade center in Shandong province in eastern China
The trade center is intended to showcase Cambodian products to the Chinese people in order to boost exports. It also will help to share investment, tourism, and trade information and Cambodian culture with the Chinese as well as strengthen Cambodia and China’s relationship.
For more information, see “New Cambodian Trade Centre Opens in China,” May 14, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50603733/new-trade-centre-opens-in-shandong/.

Cambodia and Nepal reach trade and investment agreement and cooperation MOU
In a business forum held in May 2019, the governments reached a framework agreement on investment and trade and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation between their national chambers of commerce. The governments expect bilateral trade to increase.
For more information, see “Cambodia, Nepal to Boost Trade,” May 15, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50604156/cambodia-nepal-to-boost-trade/.

Cambodia’s Battambang provincial Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries issues order on trafficking of fertilizers and pesticides
Under the order, imports of fertilizers and pesticides for personal use now require government approval. In addition, department personnel will work to intercept unlicensed fertilizers and pesticides along the Cambodia-Thailand border, including by inspecting stalls and shops that sell these products in strategic areas near the border.
For more information, see “New Directive Issued on Smuggling of Agri Goods,” May 30, 2019, https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/new-directive-issued-smuggling-agri-goods.

Cambodia’s National Assembly approves investment protection and promotion agreement with three countries
The National Assembly approved agreements on promoting and protecting investments with Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey in June 2019.
For more information, see “Agreement on Turkish Investment Protection Approved,” June 18, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50615019/agreement-on-turkish-investment-protection-approved/.

Cambodia signs agreement with China aimed at increasing production of certain rice exports
Under the agreement, the government of China will help construct 12 warehouses and 10 silos in 11 Cambodian provinces, with the goal of boosting paddy and milled rice exports from Cambodia to China.
For more information, see “Cambodia, China to Jointly Build Rice Warehouses and Silos,” June 21, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50616278/cambodia-china-to-jointly-build-rice-warehouses-and-silos/.

Cambodia and Hong Kong sign anti-double tax agreement
Under the agreement, the governments will avoid double taxation in cross-border economic activities. This will help to facilitate improved access for investors.
For more information, see “Cambodia Signs Anti-Double Tax Agreement with Hong Kong,” June 28, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50618864/cambodia-signs-anti-double-tax-agreement-with-hong-kong/.

Ministry of Economy and Finance launches National Single Window in Cambodia
The National Single Window will enable foreign trade actors to submit required information and documents only once through a single entry point. This will help to facilitate import and export activities.
For more information, see “Cambodia Launches National Single Window,” July 1, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50619318/cambodia-launches-national-single-window/.

Cambodia and Sri Lanka sign three agreements expanding cooperation in multiple areas
Targeted sectors are civil aviation, commerce, culture, education, and tourism.
For more information, see “Cambodia, Sri Lanka Expand Ties,” August 9, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh.com/631840/cambodia-sri-lanka-expand-ties/.

Indonesian president signs regulation on trade in border areas
Government Regulation No. 34/2019 regulates trade between Indonesians and foreigners living along shared borders. Only residents living in border areas can conduct border trading and they are only authorized to do so in designated areas. Indonesians living in border areas must provide immigration and customs documents to relevant offices at border checkpoints in order to purchase goods from foreigners outside of customs areas.
For more information, see “Jokowi Signs Regulation on Trading in Border Areas,” May 15, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/15/jokowi-signs-regulation-on-trading-in-border-areas.html.

Indonesia revises guidelines on import scrap paper shipments
The government has changed the 0.5 percent contamination limit to less stringent and more commonly used recycled paper quality specifications. Despite this revision, additional inspections are still required for paper traders. Two bales of paper per container must be examined for quality. The government has not set a date for implementation of the revised guidelines.
For more information, see “Indonesia Slightly Scales Back Paper Import Restrictions,” June 18, 2019, https://resource-recycling.com/recycling/2019/06/18/indonesia-slightly-scales-back-paper-import-restrictions/.

Indonesia’s Batam city government prohibits imports of plastic waste
The government issued the prohibition for environmental protection reasons.
For more information, see “Batam City Government Bans Use of Imported Plastic Waste,” June 25, 2019, https://en.antaranews.com/news/127710/batam-city-government-bans-use-of-imported-plastic-waste.

Indonesia establishes new import tariff for raw sugar from India
The import tariff has been changed from 550 rupiah (US$0.0389) a kilogram to a rate of 5 percent. The regulation on this tariff took effect on July 8, 2019.
For more information, see “Indonesia Sets New Tariff for Indian Raw Sugar Imports,” June 27, 2019, https://in.reuters.com/article/indonesia-sugar-india/indonesia-sets-new-tariff-for-indian-raw-sugar-imports-idINL4N23Y1XK.

Indonesia reduces fines on traders who underpay or fail to pay import and export duties
Under Finance Ministry Regulation No. 99/2019, the government lowered such fines and increased punishment levels from 5 to 10.
For more information, see “Govt Relaxes Fines for Underpayment of Import/Export Duties,” July 17, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/07/17/govt-relaxes-fines-for-underpayment-of-importexport-duties.html.

Indonesia to impose stricter controls on imports of plastic waste
The government will increase checks on plastic waste imports at the border and impose heftier penalties for violations. It also will require exporters of plastic waste to register with the government in order for the waste to be imported to Indonesia. These measures are intended to reduce the surge in plastic waste imports to the country.
For more information, see “Indonesia Plans New Rules to Curb Jump in Imports of Plastic Waste,” July 26, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-environment-plastic/indonesia-plans-new-rules-to-curb-jump-in-imports-of-plastic-waste-idUSKCN1UL1E4.

President of Indonesia signs electric vehicle regulation
The government will provide import tariff incentives for battery-based electric vehicles and supporting technology and materials. It also will provide value-added tax deductions and incentives for imported goods related to investments in the electric vehicle industry.
For more information, see “Jokowi Signs Electric Vehicle Regulation,” August 9, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/08/09/jokowi-signs-electric-vehicle-regulation.html.

Laos and Thailand sign agreement to build their fifth friendship bridge
The bridge will be located between Thailand’s Bueng Kan province and Laos’s Bolikhamsai province and will have border control facilities on both sides. It can be used to transport Thai goods to southern China and Lao goods to Thailand’s Laem Chabang deep-sea port. The bridge is expected to be completed in three years.
For more information, see “Thailand, Laos Sign Agreement on 5th Friendship Bridge across Mekong River,” June 14, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/14/c_138144281.htm.

National Assembly of Laos approves law on anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures
The law will enable the government to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures on imported products that could be damaging to local producers. For example, the government could impose subsidies to safeguard domestic producers.
For more information, see “Laos Approves New Law to Safeguard Local Products,” June 18, 2019, https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/laos-approves-new-law-safeguard-local-products.

Laos no longer requires international exporters to obtain license for domestic business operations
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce signed a ministerial decision on June 6, 2019, that removes the requirement. Instead, international exporters must obtain a trading rights license from the Lao Export and Import Department in order to export their goods to Laos. To do so, they must be registered in countries that are World Trade Organization (WTO) members and submit certain documents, such as a passport.
For more information, see “Lao Ministry Resolves Trading Licence Issue Following Complaints,” June 20, 2019, https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/lao-ministry-resolves-trading-licence-issue-following-complaints.

Laos and Thailand sign land infrastructure agreement
Under the agreement, both governments will upgrade a road and build a rail extension. These projects will expedite the movement of goods and passengers along the Chiang Mai-Vientiane Economic Corridor route.
For more information, see “Thailand, Laos Sign Road and Rail Deal,” July 1, 2019, https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1704660/thailand-laos-sign-road-and-rail-deal.

Laos and Vietnam opened Nam Lanh-Muong Po auxiliary border gates in July 2019
The border gates will facilitate trade. Inauguration of the gates is part of the governments’ intention to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
For more information, see “Nam Lanh-Muong Po Auxiliary Border Gate Pair Inaugurated,” July 9, 2019, https://en.vietnamplus.vn/nam-lanhmuong-po-auxiliary-border-gate-pair-inaugurated/155777.vnp.

Laos and Russia sign cooperation agreement
The governments will cooperate in economics, science, trade, and other areas to enhance their relationship.
For more information, see “Laos, Russia Announce Cooperation in Numerous Fields,” July 16, 2019, https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/laos-russia-announce-cooperation-in-numerous-fields.

Laos authorizes Chinese companies to develop infrastructure and invest in agriculture
Chinese companies can develop trade-related infrastructure and invest in agriculture in Laos. The purpose of this authorization is to boost exports to China.
For more information, see “Lao Gov’t to Boost Export to Chinese Market,” July 23, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-07/23/c_138250222.htm.

Laos and Thailand commence new freight train service
The train runs across the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge between Vientiane in Laos and Nong Khai province in Thailand. This service will facilitate trade.
For more information, see “Laos, Thailand Launch Freight Train Service,” August 5, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-08/05/c_138284955.htm.

Malaysia reaches barter trade agreement with China on palm oil
Malaysia’s Persada Syabas and China’s Poly Technologies signed the agreement. Approximately 200,000 tons of additional palm oil will be exported to China. In return, construction services, civilian and defense equipment, and natural resources products will be exported to Malaysia.
For more information, see “M’sia Strikes Palm Oil Barter Trade Deal with China,” June 1, 2019, https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/01/msia-strikes-palm-oil-barter-trade-deal-with-china/.

Malaysia prohibits imports of pigs and pork products from six additional countries
To prevent the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) issued the import prohibition on products from Belgium, Cambodia, China, Poland, Thailand, and Vietnam.
For more information, see “Import Ban on Pork Products Expanded,” June 8, 2019, https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/08/import-ban-on-pork-products-expanded/.

Malaysia to impose more stringent controls on inbound plastic waste
The government will perform more stringent checks on inbound plastic waste at all Malaysian ports. The government hopes to combat the smuggling of illicit plastic waste to Malaysia.
For more information, see “Malaysia to Implement Tighter Checks on Plastic Waste,” June 10, 2019, https://www.phnompenhpost.com/international/malaysia-implement-tighter-checks-plastic-waste.

Malaysia and Thailand begin trial period for 24-hour customs, immigration, and other operations at selected facilities
Effective June 18, 2019, both governments began a three-month trial period of 24-hour operations at Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Bukit Kayu Hitam and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Sadao. Only trucks and heavy vehicles conveying cargo are authorized during the trial period. The purpose of constant operation at these locations is to enhance connectivity, trade, and investment between Malaysia and Thailand.
For more information, see “Malaysia-Thailand to Run 24-Hour ICQS Operations from Midnight,” June 17, 2019, https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/496899/malaysia-thailand-run-24-hour-icqs-operations-midnight.

Border security enhancements underway at Malaysia-Philippines border to prepare for upcoming barter trade
A new Immigration, Customs, and Quarantine (ICQ) post will be built on the Philippine side of Turtle Island in Tawi-Tawi. Another change to be made is the addition of security personnel, such as the army and navy, to ensure the security of traders along their shared borders.
For more information, see “Tighter Security at Malaysia-Philippines Border,” July 2, 2019, https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/philippines/tighter-security-at-malaysia-philippines-border-1.64981574.

Malaysia ceases exports of pork and pork products to meet local demand
The government stopped exporting pork and pork products on July 4, 2019, in order to meet local demand. This was deemed necessary since the government has suspended imports of these items from multiple countries due to outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF).
For more information, see “Malaysia Stops Exporting Pork to Meet Local Demand amid Swine Fever Outbreak,” July 4, 2019, https://www.todayonline.com/world/malaysia-stops-exporting-pork-meet-local-demand-amid-swine-fever-outbreak.

Malaysia’s Kelantan police at Rantau Panjang Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex enhance security control
Beginning July 28, 2019, Kelantan will tighten border security control and increase the number of operations at the ICQS Complex for six days. For example, Kelantan police will inspect all individuals passing through the ICQS Complex and will deploy K-9s to help detect drugs. These efforts are intended to detect and prevent the entry of drugs.
For more information, see “Police to Tighten Drug Detection at ICQS Complex in Rantau Panjang,” July 30, 2019, https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/30/police-to-tighten-drug-detection-at-icqs-complex-in-rantau-panjang/1776031.

Myanmar Investment Commission approves development of terminal on Yangon River
Adani Yangon International Terminal will develop, operate, and maintain the Ahlone International Port Terminal 2 (AIPT). Phase one of the project will begin in September 2019 and will be completed by the end of 2020. Phase two of the project will take six months to complete. The development of AIPT and the expansion of other river ports in Myanmar is part of a strategy to increase exports and become a regional hub.
For more information, see “Adani Gets Green Light for New Asia Terminal,” May 9, 2019, https://www.porttechnology.org/news/adani_gets_green_light_for_new_asia_terminal.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) signs agreement to develop and operate a container terminal in Myanmar’s Yangon Port
The terminal will be capable of processing three vessels at a time and will have modern equipment that will reduce the average vessel turnaround time. Phase one of development will begin in June 2019 and will be completed in two years.
For more information, see “Adani Ports to Set up First Container Terminal outside India in Myanmar,” May 23, 2019, https://m.economictimes.com/industry/transportation/shipping-/-transport/adani-ports-to-set-up-first-container-terminal-outside-india-in-myanmar/articleshow/69461515.cms.

New copyright law takes effect in Myanmar
The new law came into effect on May 24, 2019, replacing the Copyright Act of 1914. It establishes border control measures and penalties for importing infringing items to Myanmar, among other changes.
For more information, see “Myanmar Enacts Copyright Law,” June 5, 2019, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=89cfb0ea-acf2-4c3a-aea0-40ebd097deaf.

Myanmar and Thailand sign trade facilitation agreement
The agreement will enable overland cross-border trade, which began at the end of July 2019. Both governments will issue licenses to logistics companies to transport goods overland only along the Yangon (Thilawa)-Myawaddy-Mae Sot-Bangkok (Laem Chabang) route. The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate bilateral transport of goods.
For more information, see “Myanmar, Thailand Sign Agreement to Facilitate Overland Trade,” June 13, 2019, https://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2019&no=413801.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) authorizes foreign and joint venture companies to export selected commodities
According to Notification 24/2019, such companies in Myanmar can export rice, fish, meat, value-added crops, pulp and paper, seeds, refined metals, wood-based furniture, and other commodities. They must receive recommendations from relevant ministries to buy the items from local producers. Once they do so, the government will issue export licenses to them for the goods. The purposes of the notification include improving the quality of Myanmar’s exports and increasing international demand for local products. The notification also will attract foreign investments to Myanmar’s agriculture sector.
For more information, see “Govt Allows Foreign Companies to Export Rice, Other Commodities,” June 13, 2019, https://www.mmtimes.com/news/govt-allows-foreign-companies-export-rice-other-commodities.html.

Myanmar allows exports of timber harvested at private and state-owned plantations
The Forest Department will conduct inspections to ensure the timber is not harvested from natural forests, since exports of timber harvested in natural forests have been prohibited since 2014. Private and state-owned companies interested in exporting their timber must obtain authorization from the Forest Department.
For more information, see “Myanmar to Allow Private Plantations to Export Timber,” June 13, 2019, https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmar-allow-private-plantations-export-timber.html.

Myanmar reaches agreement with China to export recycled plastic pellets
Previously, the government had been exporting pellets to China for two months as a trial run.
For more information, see “Myanmar to Export Recycled Plastic Pellets,” June 18, 2019, https://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2019&no=431784.

Myanmar to remove import license requirement for over 4,000 products
The government is still deciding on which items no longer will require import licenses. The lifting of this trade restriction will help to facilitate trade.
For more information, see “Myanmar to Lift Licensing Requirement for Some Import Items,” July 19, 2019, https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmar-lift-licensing-requirement-some-import-items.html.

Myanmar-China cross-border trade through Muse stopped due to ongoing conflicts
The movement of passengers and goods stopped after rebel forces destroyed bridges on the Mandalay-Muse Road.
For more information, see “Myanmar’s Cross-Border Trade with China Halted by Clashes,” August 19, 2019, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-cross-border-trade-china-halted-clashes.html.

Philippines removes ban on imports of Japanese pigs and pork products
Via Memorandum Order No. 11, the Department of Agriculture (DA) lifted the ban following an evaluation that showed contamination risks of classical swine fever were minimal. The DA imposed the ban on imports of pigs and pork products from Japan in February 2019.
For more information, see “DA Lifts Import Ban on Japanese Meat,” May 27, 2019, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1070752.

Philippines lifts seven-year ban on imports of fish and food products from Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture
The ban was imposed in 2011 following the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.
For more information, see “PH Lifts Import Ban on Agri, Fish Products from Fukushima,” May 30, 2019, https://business.mb.com.ph/2019/05/30/ph-lifts-import-ban-on-agri-fish-products-from-fukushima/.

Philippines tightens security at ports of entry, bans pork imports from multiple countries to prevent ASF outbreak
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is monitoring the country’s borders regularly to prevent the entry of prohibited meat products originating from African swine fever (ASF)-infected countries. The government of the Philippines also prohibited the import of pork and its products from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, North Korea, South Africa, Vietnam, and Zambia.
For more information, see “Customs Bureau Assures Tight Security vs Banned Meat,” June 1, 2019, https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/01/19/customs-bureau-assures-tight-security-vs-banned-meat, “Meat Imports from Germany Banned on ASF Concerns,” July 5, 2019, https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/05/1932041/meat-imports-germany-banned-asf-concerns, and “FDA Expands Pork Import Ban over Swine Fever,” August 4, 2019, https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/08/04/1940340/fda-expands-pork-import-ban-over-swine-fever.

Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) reinstates embarkation policy at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)
Beginning July 1, 2019, BOC at NAIA requires arriving passengers to fill out embarkation forms regarding their luggage and items they bring from overseas. The embarkation form includes questions on customs declaration and possession of prohibited items. The purpose of the embarkation form is to determine the amount passengers should be taxed for items they carry and help to intercept the entry of prohibited items.
For more information, see “Customs Return Use of Embarkation Forms at NAIA,” July 1, 2019, https://philippinesonline.news/customs-return-use-of-embarkation-forms-at-naia/.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) issues order imposing safeguard duty on imports of ceramic tiles
Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 28-2019, BOC can collect a duty on imported ceramic tiles. The duty will be in effect for 200 days and will be applied to selected tariff lines.
For more information, see “Govt to Start Collecting Safeguard Duty of P3/Kg on Imported Ceramic Tiles,” July 8, 2019, https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/07/08/govt-to-start-collecting-safeguard-duty-of-p3-kg-on-imported-ceramic-tiles/.

Baggage declaration procedures streamlined at Philippine airports
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) now only requires travelers and passengers with declarable goods to submit a Customs Baggage Declaration Form (CBDF).
For more information, see “BOC Streamlines Baggage Declaration Procedures at Airports,” July 17, 2019, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1142934/boc-streamlines-baggage-declaration-procedures-at-airports.

Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) enables more persons to register as declarants
Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 34-2019, all importers or persons able to act as agents or attorneys-in-fact that wish to lodge and process goods declarations with BOC can file an application for accreditation and obtain the corresponding certificate as declarant. They also must register in the Client Profile Registration System (CPRS), which is valid for one year. Declarants are responsible for the accuracy of the goods declaration and payment of duties and other fees.
For more information, see “BOC Allows Non-Brokers to Register as Declarants,” July 17, 2019, https://pia.gov.ph/index.php/news/articles/1024720.

Philippine Customs is improving processes and operations in preparation for joining the ASEAN Single Window
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has implemented measures to automate processes, enhance inspections during cargo clearance, and strengthen intelligence and enforcement capabilities.
For more information, see “Customs Gears up to Join the Asean Single Window,” July 20, 2019, https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/20/1936149/customs-gears-join-asean-single-window.

Philippine Customs launches National Value Verification System (NVVS)
NVVS will enable BOC to set average valuations of import goods and determine the correct tariffs to apply.
For more information, see “Customs Steps up Drive vs ‘Trade Mis-invoicing’,” July 21, 2019, https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/21/1936365/customs-steps-drive-vs-trade-mis-invoicing.

President of the Philippines signs order to continue allowing imports of capital gear duty-free
Executive Order 85 allows enterprises registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) to import capital equipment, accessories, and spare parts duty-free for three additional years. This will help to improve industry competitiveness and attract investors to the Philippines.
For more information, see “Duty-Free Capital Gear Importation Extended,” July 25, 2019, https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/07/25/duty-free-capital-gear-importation-extended/.

Fuel marking begins in the Philippines to combat oil smuggling
The government began injecting markers into fuel products for which correct excise taxes and import duties were paid. Random field testing will occur over the next few months. Under Joint Circular No. 1-2019 by the Department of Finance (DOJ), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), BOC and BIR can enforce compliance. They can seize degraded, diluted, or unmarked petroleum and arrest non-compliant traders.
For more information, see “Gov’t Starts Fuel Marking to Stop Oil Smuggling,” August 2, 2019, https://business.inquirer.net/275967/govt-starts-fuel-marking-to-stop-oil-smuggling.

Philippines bans import of baby bottles and sippy cups with bisphenol A (BPA)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the manufacture, import, and distribution of such products in a circular dated August 9, 2019. The government will provide a six-month grace period to recall affected products from the market. Following the grace period, manufacturers, importers and/or distributors are required to submit an inventory report to the FDA.
For more information, see “Philippines Bans BPA in Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups,” August 14, 2019, https://chemicalwatch.com/81043/philippines-bans-bpa-in-baby-bottles-and-sippy-cups.

Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) establishes department to monitor imports of chemicals
Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 38-2019, which took effect on August 9, 2019, establishes the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD) within the BOC. EPCD will monitor shipments of imported chemicals subject to control by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), such as hazardous substances, waste products (including nuclear waste), and recyclable products.
For more information, see “Philippines to Establish Department to Monitor Illegal Chemicals Imports,” August 21, 2019, https://chemicalwatch.com/81194/philippines-to-establish-department-to-monitor-illegal-chemicals-imports.

Singapore approves agricultural imports from the Philippines
Following sanitary inspections of several Philippine poultry and hog farms, the government of Singapore approved the entry of chicken, certain fish, fruits, pork and processed pork products, eggs, and vegetables from the Philippines.
For more information, see “Singapore Clears Entry of Philippines Agri Products,” May 17, 2019, https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/05/17/1918389/singapore-clears-entry-philippines-agri-products.

Singapore removes prohibition on imports of certain foods from Japan
The government authorized the import of poultry, processed poultry products, egg-related items, and beef and pork-derived processed foods from Japan, effectively removing the 2010 suspension on Japanese poultry imports. Poultry products from Japan will be imported to Singapore in several months once the government of Singapore accredits Japanese poultry farms and processing facilities. The Singaporean government had an import prohibition in place on poultry imports from Japan due to the outbreak of bird flu.
For more information, see “Singapore Lifts Ban on Japanese Poultry Imports,” June 4, 2019, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/06/04/business/singapore-lifts-2010-ban-japanese-poultry-imports/.

AEO MRA between Singapore and New Zealand takes effect
The New Zealand-Singapore Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) entered into force on August 1, 2019. Under this agreement, companies certified by Customs as having “robust security practices and lower risks” will benefit from facilitated customs clearance for their goods.
For more information, see “Implementation of New Zealand-Singapore Mutual Recognition Arrangement,” July 25, 2019, https://www.customs.gov.sg/-/media/cus/files/circulars/circular122019-ver1.pdf.

Singapore Food Agency (SFA) authorizes new food imports from Finland and Spain
In July 2019, SFA approved the importation of chilled and frozen pork from Finland and beef and beef products, chicken table eggs, poultry meat and meat products, and processed egg products from Spain.
For more information, see “Import of Chilled Pork from Finland,” July 15, 2019, https://www.sfa.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/cir_finland_july-2019.pdf, and “Import of New Products from Spain,” July 22, 2019, https://www.sfa.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2019-07-22_trade-circular—new-products-from-spain.pdf.

Singapore updates strategic trade legal authorities
The Strategic Goods (Control) Order 2019 was published in Singapore’s gazette on August 1, 2019, and will enter into force on October 1, 2019. It will update the country’s strategic goods control list to be in alignment with the 2018 Wassenaar Arrangement Munitions List and the 2018 European Union List of Dual-Use Items. Similarly, the Strategic Goods (Control) Brokering Order 2019 will take effect October 1 to include strategic goods technology and the Strategic Goods (Control) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will take effect on the same day. Some controlled transit and transshipment items have been changed in the regulations.
For more information, see “Changes to the Strategic Goods Control List,” August 1, 2019, https://www.customs.gov.sg/-/media/cus/files/circulars/circular132019-ver-1.pdf.

Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facility opens at One°15 Marina Sentosa Cove in Singapore
The facility became operational on June 15, 2019. It is anticipated to facilitate the movement of vessels between Marina Sentosa and other marinas in the region.
For more information, see “New Customs and Immigration Facility Officially Opens at Marina at Sentosa Cove,” August 2, 2019, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/new-customs-and-immigration-facility-officially-opens-at-marina-at-sentosa-cove.

Singapore Customs exempts more bullion coins from goods and services tax (GST)
All Australia Dragon Rectangular gold and silver coins, with the exception of the numismatic version; Australia Kangaroo platinum coins; Australia Lunar platinum coins, with the exception of the numismatic version; and United Kingdom Royal Arms gold and silver coins meet Investment Grade Precious Metals (IPM) requirements. Therefore, they will be eligible for GST exemption effective September 1, 2019. Importers must apply for GST exemption.
For more information, see “New Qualifying Bullion Coins as Investment Precious Metals,” August 21, 2019, https://www.customs.gov.sg/-/media/cus/files/notices/2019/notice142019-ver-1.pdf.

Thailand intensifies efforts to prevent the entry of African swine fever
The government has increased inspections at ports of entry (POEs), applied penalties on illegal slaughterhouses and traders, and imposed stricter reporting requirements for hog deaths.
For more information, see “Thailand on Red Alert in Bid to Stop ‘Pig Ebola’ Crossing Border,” May 17, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-17/thailand-on-red-alert-in-bid-to-stop-pig-ebola-crossing-border.

Thailand to apply measures to imports to counteract the effects of the U.S.-China trade war
The government will apply enhanced anti-dumping and circumvention and safeguard measures when it detects an influx of imported goods from China, the U.S., or other countries.
For more information, see “Likely Influx of Imports Spurs Action,” May 22, 2019, https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1681704/likely-influx-of-imports-spurs-action.

Thai Customs Department introduces the E-Coastal Trading System
The system will help coastal trading vessels to report their movements and allow them to conduct customs procedures electronically. Vessel operators can pay required fees through the system’s E-Bill Payment feature. In addition, the E-Coastal Trading System provides port operators with information on the status of cargo containers.
For more information, see “Thai Customs Dept Launches E-Coastal Trading System to Facilitate, Expedite Management,” May 24, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/24/c_138086326.htm.

Thailand and China’s Guangdong province sign cooperation agreements
The governments will cooperate in the areas of education, investment, science and technology development, tourism, and trade.
For more information, see “Guangdong, Thailand Sign Key Agreements,” June 10, 2019, https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1692676/guangdong-thailand-sign-key-agreements.

Thailand prohibits the importation of live pigs and carcasses from Laos
The prohibition will be in place for 90 days to prevent the entry of African swine fever (ASF) to Thailand. The government issued the ban following the first detected outbreak of ASF in Laos.
For more information, see “Thailand Bans Pig Imports from Laos after African Swine Fever Outbreak,” June 22, 2019, https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-swinefever-laos/thailand-bans-pig-imports-from-laos-after-african-swine-fever-outbreak-idUKKCN1TN0CL.

Thai Customs installs X-ray machines at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, will scan luggage at the end of 2019
Thailand’s customs department installed 23 conveyor belt X-ray machines at Suvarnabhumi International Airport that will be operational by the end of the year. Customs will use the machines to scan luggage for illicit and smuggled items. Currently, Customs conducts random physical inspections of luggage.
For more information, see “Luggage to Be X-rayed at Airports by Year-End, Used-Car Imports to Be Banned: Customs,” July 5, 2019, https://news.thaivisa.com/article/37261/luggage-to-be-x-rayed-at-airports-by-year-end-used-car-imports-to-be-banned-customs.

Thailand will prohibit used car imports beginning December 10, 2019
The government published the ministerial regulations in the Royal Gazette on June 23, 2019. The purpose of the rules is to curb smuggling and pollution. Exemptions will be allowed, by request, for used cars imported for special purposes, including government and diplomatic use, research and development, and reassembly.
For more information, see “Ban on Used Car Imports from Dec 10,” July 10, 2019, https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1709703/ban-on-used-car-imports-from-dec-10.

Thailand bans the import of live pigs and wild boars and carcasses from Myanmar
The government banned the importation of these items for 90 days, following Myanmar’s first confirmed case of the African swine fever (ASF).
For more information, see “Thailand to Ban Pig Imports from Myanmar over African Swine Fever,” August 15, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-swinefever-myanmar/thailand-to-ban-pig-imports-from-myanmar-over-african-swine-fever-idUSKCN1V50S3.

Vietnam adds another import duty on wire rods
The government imposed a safeguard duty of 10.9 percent on imports of wire rods from multiple origins. It will be in effect until March 21, 2020.
For more information, see “Vietnam Hikes Import Duty on Wire Rod,” May 16, 2019, https://kallanish.com/en/steel-news/market-reports/article-details/vietnam-hikes-import-duty-wire-rod-0519/.

Vietnam’s Binh Duong Customs Department opens second centralized checkpoint
Binh Duong Customs opened the checkpoint at Tan Cang-Song Than ICD on May 27, 2019. The checkpoint has a mobile container scanner to help reduce physical inspections and expedite customs clearance.
For more information, see “Binh Duong Customs: Launching the Second Centralized Checkpoint,” May 29, 2019, https://customsnews.vn/binh-duong-customs-launching-the-second-centralized-checkpoint-10853.html.

Vietnam imposes temporary anti-dumping duties on aluminum products from 17 Chinese producers
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) imposed the duties on June 5, 2019, pursuant to the Law on Foreign Trade Management. The rates range from 2.46 percent to 35.58 percent. The government applied the duties because many Vietnamese aluminum producers were forced to stop production and many employees lost their jobs as a result of the dumping of Chinese aluminum products in Vietnam’s market.
For more information, see “Vietnam Imposes Temporary Anti-Dumping Duties on Chinese Products,” June 4, 2019, https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/vietnam-imposes-temporary-anti-dumping-duties-on-chinese-products-asianewsnetwork.

Vietnam imposes safeguard duty on imports of steel billets from Malaysia and Kazakhstan
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) imposed a 17.3 percent safeguard duty on the imports, beginning June 13, 2019.
For more information, see “Vietnam Imposes 17% Safeguard Duties on Billet Imports from Malaysian & Kazakhstan,” June 10, 2019, https://steelguru.com/steel/vietnam-imposes-17-safeguard-duties-on-billet-imports-from-malaysian-kazakhstan/541874.

Vietnam Customs receives detection equipment
The World Customs Organization (WCO), with funding from the government of Japan, provided the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) with seven Raman Spectrometers, a hand-held Backscatter X-ray device, and an XRF Precious Metal Analyzer on June 14, 2019. GDVC will use the equipment to identify smuggled precursor chemicals that could be used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), small arms and light weapons, and precious metals.
For more information, see “WCO Hands over Detection Devices to Vietnam Customs,” June 26, 2019, http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2019/june/wco-hands-over-detection-devices-to-vietnam-customs.aspx.

Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Customs introduces VASSCM at selected bonded warehouses
Customs deployed the Vietnam Automated System for Seaport Customs Management (VASSCM) at International Northern Star Co., Ltd and Quang Ninh Ocean Shipping Agency’s bonded warehouses. With its deployment, businesses can receive goods directly at warehouses, thereby reducing customs procedures. In particular, the VASSCM helps to reduce inspection time, costs, and the time for goods to leave ports.
For more information, see “Quang Ninh Customs Deploys VASSCM in Bonded Warehouses,” June 30, 2019, https://customsnews.vn/quang-ninh-customs-deploys-vasscm-in-bonded-warehouses-11128.html.

Vietnam and the European Union (EU) sign free trade agreement (FTA)
Under the agreement, the governments will eliminate 99 percent of tariffs over varying time periods and adhere to certain labor rights and environmental and intellectual property protections. The FTA is expected to benefit especially Vietnamese exports of computer parts, smartphones, shoes, and textiles to the EU and EU exports of beef, pasta, and wine to Vietnam. FTA negotiations began in June 2012.
For more information, see “Vietnam and EU Sign Free Trade Agreement,” June 30, 2019, https://www.pulse.com.gh/news/world/vietnam-and-eu-sign-free-trade-agreement/shle68h, and “EU-Vietnam FTA: Two down, Eight to Go in Asean,” July 2, 2019, https://www.gtreview.com/news/asia/eu-vietnam-fta-two-down-eight-to-go-in-asean/.