The 4th advanced conference on Trade Compliance in the Middle East has discussed ways to enhance customs practice in the GCC towards ensuring reduced cost of trading and increased compliance with trade regulations.
Organized by C5 group, the event was held in partnership with Dubai Customs during 6-7 March. The conference also highlighted, as a top topic of its agenda, Dubai Customs’ experience in the successful implementation of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.
Leading international experts and delegates from key economic sectors such as trade, manufacturing, freight forwarding, and telecommunications, have come together to discuss the latest on how to comply with applicable trade and customs regulations and make the best use of duty relief and certification programs. Particular focus is on the upcoming changes of trade and customs regulations in the GCC, with the anticipated introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT).
The 2-day conference is aimed at providing business agents and trade compliance professionals with up-to-date insights on export controls, sanctions and customs rules from an international speaking faculty of customs and trade enforcement experts.
The Director of Customs Declaration Management Department and Owner of AEO Program project at Dubai Customs, Eman Badr Al Suwaidi delivered the opening keynote address, in which she presented Dubai Customs’ experience in the successful implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator program at the UAE level, as well as its contributions to promoting voluntary trade compliance in the GCC and the larger MENA region.
Ms Al Suwaidi hailed the gathering of this important conference for the 4th consecutive year in Dubai, which reflects the pivotal role of the UAE and Dubai in the regional and international trade movement. “It is a golden chance for us to network and discuss together the means to enhance our compliance to trade laws and customs regulations and policies in the Middle East. Trade and customs laws in the GCC have been constantly evolving and the business community need to be aware of these developments to avoid violations and legal complications and ensure their companies are not left with unexpected hassles arising from delays and costly penalties of non-compliance,” she said.
“Dubai Customs has led the way in adopting the latest technologies. This ushered in a new era of customs work and saw Dubai Customs launch and innovate a number of programs and applications that helped raise the local customs status to a world class level whilst boosting Dubai’s external trade. Dubai’s non-oil external trade has become five times as much during the last 10 years; from AED 252 in 2003 to AED 1.329 trillion in 2013. In the first nine months of 2016, the value of Dubai’s foreign trade reached AED 952 billion,” she explained.
Ms Al Suwaidi shed light on Dubai Customs’ pioneering experience in the implementation of UAE AEO program. “The AEO program is a federal program that connects the UAE with the rest of the world in terms of trade and customs. It recognizes traders as trusted operators and provides them with exclusive benefits. Companies in the UAE will have certain facilities and privileges from the countries that we will sign agreements with. The program also offers a number of advantages to our partners within the supply chain which include pre-arrival clearance of consignments and other preferential customs procedures. We expect to have 50% of our customs transactions carried out through this program by 2020, the year the UAE hosts the renowned Expo 2020.”
The World Customs Organization, she added, has recently highlighted Dubai Customs’ move towards the full adoption of the Authorized Economic Operator facility and described it as a major facilitator to global supply chain.
This move, according to WCO’s website, will help put the UAE and Dubai in the vanguard of countries applying the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards.
Al Suwaidi pointed out that these achievements wouldn’t have been accomplished “without the valuable support of our partners and clients. We have celebrated with the 15 AEO members who passed the evaluation, and expect 10 more to join during 2017.”
Dubai Customs is working now on a number of new initiatives that will enhance the AEO’s capabilities. These will include establishing the “AEO Capability & Research Center”, which will drive innovation to continuously improve and further strengthen the AEO program. There will also be the “Trusted Trade Lane”, which will introduce new logistic highways that are built on trust and provides smoother, faster, and secure border crossing of goods. It builds on AEO and the capability of standardized Customs-to-Customs data exchange to increase data quality in risk management. This concept is a part of the WCO SAFE Framework and a move towards its vision of Globally Networked Customs (GNC).