The 24th Working Group Meeting of the EU-China Smart and Secure Trade Lanes Pilot Project (SSTL Pilot Project) was successfully held from October 27 to 30 in Hong Kong. At the meeting, delegates from participating Customs administrations paved the way for the further implementation of cargo clearance services under the project, enhancing Hong Kong's role as an international logistics hub.
This meeting was hosted by Hong Kong Customs and jointly chaired by the General Administration of China Customs (GACC) and the Taxation and Customs Union of the European Commission (TAXUD EC). The delegation led by TAXUD EC comprises members from the European Commission and participating Customs administrations including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK). The meeting evaluated the operations and benefits of the SSTL Pilot Project and paved the way for the implementation of Phase 3 of the project.
Riding on the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade adopted by the World Customs Organization, the GACC and TAXUD EC launched the SSTL Pilot Project, which aims at enabling traders to enjoy more efficient and predictable cargo clearance at both exporting and importing ends through enhanced Customs-to-Customs and Customs-to-Business co-operation. Hong Kong joined the SSTL Pilot Project in June 2013 which not only strengthened Hong Kong's ties with the Mainland and the European countries, but also enhanced its role as an international logistics hub by bringing benefits to all parties in the project, in particular the local logistics industry.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, the Assistant Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs, Mr David Fong, said, "Hong Kong is a premier logistics hub and has vibrant intermodal transshipment activities. We are confident that Hong Kong's participation will make significant contributions to the sustainable development of the SSTL Pilot Project, especially when its scope of operation is further extended to cover both transshipment and consolidated cargo as well as air shipments in the years ahead."
The China and TAXUD EC have planned to proceed with Phase 3 of the SSTL Pilot Project with an expansion in pilot trade routes and participating traders. Hong Kong Customs will continue to actively participate in this project with an aim of creating business opportunities and strengthening the competitiveness of the local logistics industry so as to maintain Hong Kong as the preferred international and regional logistics hub as well as supply-chain base.
Currently including Hong Kong, there are six ports from China and eight ports in the European countries of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK participating in the SSTL Pilot Project.
Ends/Thursday, October 30, 2014