Annual Review Meeting between Mainland and HK Customs

27 Jan 2005

The Vice Minister of Customs of the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China, Mr Gong Zheng, led a nine-member delegation to participate in the Annual Review Meeting (ARM) with Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

The meeting was chaired by Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong.

This is the fifth annual review meeting between the two Administrations since they signed the Customs Co-operative Arrangement in 2000. During the meeting, both parties have reviewed the results of cooperation in the past year; took stock of the strategy and its effectiveness in fighting smuggling activities, and updated themselves about the latest developments of the Customs operations.

In order to cope with the economic developments of their respective territories, and further strengthen their enforcement against cross-boundary smuggling activities, the two Administrations agreed to further expand their platform on Customs cooperation.

Riding on the established foundation of cooperation, the two parties will enhance their relationship through exchange at the supervisory level, proactive launch of new notification mechanisms, and the speeding up of procedural reforms in Customs clearance.

The two Administrations have reached consensus in the following areas at the meeting:

  1. to jointly launch a pilot scheme for the notification of export of cigarette consignments to complement the "Project Crocodile" (an action plan drawn up by the representatives of 16 Customs Administrations in the Asia Pacific Region to fight against transnational cigarette smuggling activities), and to step up crackdown actions against cross-boundary cigarette smuggling activities;
  2. to carry out in-depth studies on ways of cooperation in speeding up the reform of Customs control and clearance procedures for road cargo transportation, such that the time for Customs clearance can be further reduced to facilitate the movement of goods across the land boundary;
  3. recognising the effective, efficient and smooth implementation of CEPA in 2004, both parties agreed to further their cooperation in implementing CEPA this year, with the realms of publicity and training in particular.

The discussions between the two Administrations have culminated with the Agreed Minutes of cooperation for this year, covering the organisation of topical seminars, training courses, and visits, in order to enhance mutual understanding of each other's operation and to enrich the expertise of their Customs staffs.

The ARM was concluded in a satisfactory manner. Both Administrations have grasped the opportunity to map out a plan for the year ahead. They are fully confident that the plan will further steer them towards closer cooperation.

Commissioner Tong and Vice Minister of Customs Gong expressed satisfaction over the enforcement achievements of the parallel operations conducted by the two Administrations. With the approach of the Lunar New Year, both Administrations agreed to step up law enforcement on the anti-smuggling front, especially those smuggling activities of chickens, ducks and geese as well as frozen meat that are detrimental to public health. Commissioner Tong appealed to the public not to purchase poultry from dubious sources, warning that such patronage would only add fuel to the smuggling activities.

The delegation of the General Administration of Customs attended the International Customs Day 2005 held on January 25.
In addition, the delegation will visit Lok Ma Chau Control Point and the Customs and Excise Training School to learn about the latest Customs control facilities in the boundary and the development in Customs training. The Mainland delegation will leave Hong Kong on January 29.

Ends/Thursday, January 27, 2005

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