Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures

Customs organizations implement government policies that help facilitate trade at the border. In an era of trade globalization, it is important that trade is secure in and that customs rules and procedures are kept to a minimum to reduce trade transaction costs.

The APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) was established in 1994. Its main objectives are to simplify and harmonize regional customs procedures to ensure that goods and services move efficiently, effectively and safely through the region, and to reconcile and facilitate border control.

Having adopted “Facilitation, Accountability, Consistency, Transparency and Simplification” as its basic guiding principles, the SCCP has made steadfast effort in implementing the two Trade Facilitation Action Plans(2002-2010) and the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework (2010-2015) as well as the Yokohama Vision (since 2010).

Over the past 20 years, the SCCP has carried out a series of initiatives and achieved fruitful outcomes including:

  • The Single Window Strategic Plan developed to streamline the export-import process using an online system linking all government agencies responsible for permits, certificates, and fees.
  • The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Strategies and APEC Guidelines for Customs Border Enforcement, Counterfeiting and Piracy endorsed to strengthen the IPR enforcement at borders.
  • The Action Plan on the Development of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programs and the AEO Compendium for all APEC Economies help members establish AEO programs and mutual recognition. Operators can be accredited by Customs as an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) when they prove to have high-quality internal processes that will prevent goods in international transport to be tampered with. This helps speed customs inspections for low-risk operators.
  • The SCCP has also undertaken the responsibilities of addressing chokepoints or bottlenecks relevant to Customs. The SCCP’s efforts over the past two decades have contributed greatly to the two-time 5% reductions of APEC trade transaction costs and played a fundamental role in the 10% improvement by 2015 in supply chain performance amongst APEC economies. These efforts will contribute to the development of a fair, transparent and dynamic economic and trading environment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Last page update: 12 August 2016

Current Activities

The Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) held its first meeting of the year on 24-26 February 2016 in Lima, Peru.

The SCCP members reviewed the SCCP 2015 outcomesm, reporting specific achievements such as the adoption of the APEC Customs 3M Strategic Framework; the work related to the implementation of the WTO-Trade Facilitation Agreement; the expansion of the Single Window processing the region; and the growing partnership with the business community; among others.

Another relevant outcome of the SCCP work in 2014 was the adoption of “cross-border e-commerce” as a new item in the group’s Collective Action Plan. As part of this effort, SCCP conducted and analyzed the Survey on APEC Cross-border E-commerce, which summarized the status quo of law and legislation, supervision and control, law enforcement activities in APEC region with regard to cross-border e-commerce. SCCP also discussed during 2014, the need for capacity building programs in the future and agreed to organize a seminar in the near future to promote experience sharing and capacity building on the issue. The workshop is expected to be held in September this year.

Current Actions and Projects

Promoting Connectivity and Trade Facilitation

Implementation of the WTO Agreement to Facilitate Trade

The Agreement to Facilitate Trade (ATF) is an agreement among World Trade Organization (WTO) Members that aims to reduce red-tape in cross-border trade by simplifying the customs and border procedures of WTO countries. When the ATF is implemented, businesses can expect to see trade costs decrease by 10 to 15 per cent, according to OECD estimates, and a boost of more than US$1 trillion to the world economy, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The SCCP is currently fellow member-economies on the latest developments and experiences toward the early and full implementation of the ATF. SCCP also plans to review the operation and implementation of the ATF which will take place four years after its entry into force, and to explore the possibility of implementing non-binding or best endeavor provisions of the ATF.

Single Window

Since 2007, SCCP has implemented ground-breaking work to establish Single Window systems for streamlining the export-import process via an online system that links all government agencies responsible for permits, certificates, and fees. To date, 14 APEC economies have implemented various stages of the Single Window system as a result of SCCP capacity building projects. SCCP plans to continue providing capacity building and technical support for member economies to establish and improve their individual Single Window with the least delay possible. In addition, SCCP is also working toward realizing interoperability of Single Window systems amongst APEC member economies. For more information, see an APEC Bulletin article highlighting SCCP's accomplishments on Single Window.

Customs Transit

Goods are defined to be in customs transit when crossing into the territory of an economy as part of their journey to another final destination. For example, this can occur when goods are transported by land via truck or train through a neighboring territory. In many cases, goods in transit end up being delayed unnecessarily. As such, SCCP is currently working on addressing the lack of regional cross-border customs transit arrangements between economies – considered as chokepoint 8 in the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Action Plan.

SCCP members are currently working on formulating guidelines for APEC Customs transit to address issues including lack of harmonization among APEC economies in granting preferential treatment to goods through third-party territories. Moreover, SCCP is working on carrying out capacity building, implementing customs transit guidelines, conducting regular evaluations, and setting up uniform arrangements of origin certification for transit goods so as to create a facilitated environment for customs clearance and more foreseeable transit rules for international trade operators, thereby improving the effectiveness and security of the supply chain.

Enhancing Law Enforcement Capacity and Trade Order

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection

SCCP is currently working on increasing technical exchange and experience sharing among members, and improving law enforcement capacity on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) border protection for Customs of member economies. The SCCP is also working on setting up a long-term mechanism for research and training on IPR border protection.

Conducting Closer Cooperation with the Private Sector to Enhance Trade Security

Authorized Economic Operator

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) concept is one of the main building blocks within the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards (SAFE) to support secure trade. Operators can be accredited by Customs as an AEO when they prove to have high-quality internal processes that will prevent goods in international transport to be tampered with. This facilitates trade for low-risk operators and ensures Customs can focus inspection resources on more high-risk parties.

The SCCP is continuing to carry out capacity building for the economies that have not established the AEO program and further advancing the formulation of the minimum standards for AEO enterprises, including the SMEs. SCCP also is working on promoting AEO mutual recognition between member economies, and developing the benefit list of the AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) to further facilitate trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

Study on AEO Best Practices

The study on AEO Best Practices in the APEC region was undertaken by the APEC Policy Support Unit.

This work updated the APEC AEO Compendium, assembled in 2010, with results of a new survey. Based on a new survey completed by APEC customs authorities, a matrix was created to determine where APEC AEO programs converge with or diverge from each other. Respondents reviewed and commented on preliminary drafts of this report, and provided clarifying data additional information. This final report incorporated and addressed all relevant comments from member economies, and suggests ways to improve APEC AEO convergence and regional economic integration.


Cross-border E-commerce

SCCP is working to increase awareness of risk control in e-commerce in the APEC Customs community and to promote cooperation with the business community by elevating the level of information exchange on best practices. SCCP is also strengthening cooperation between APEC economies and the private sector, encouraging self-discipline and compliance from the private sector, and establishing safe and efficient order on cross-border e-commerce in order to promote trade and economic development in APEC.

Applying Technology to Enhance the Efficiency of the Customs Control

Manifest Exchange between Border Customs

SCCP is encouraging experience exchange between members that have carried out border customs cooperation and promoting manifest data exchange between land bordering customs in the Asia-Pacific region. A manifest refers to information about the means of transport for goods. SCCP is also working on conducting a feasibility study on the uniformity of cargo manifest, reaching consensus on the data elements, format, and language of the manifest, and promoting the adoption of uniform cargo manifest among APEC economies

In addition to the above-mentioned key tasks, the SCCP will continue to push forward other on-going projects including Trade Recovery and Time Release Study in order to further simplify and harmonize regional customs procedures as well as to ensure that goods and services move efficiently, effectively and safely through the region. The SCCP will continue to work closely with the private sector through the APEC Customs Business Dialogue (ACBD) and the Virtual Working Group (VWG) to achieve its priorities.

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27 Feb - 01 Mar

SCCP Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures Plenary Meeting

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Contact Us


Program Director

H.E. Mr. VU Ngoc Anh

2016 Chair, Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP)
General Department of Viet Nam Customs
SCCP Chair 2017
Tel: 84 4 39440678
Fax: 84 4 39440622