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Further to our alert on the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation (Link), we would like to share additional details about the RCEP based on the current information available. The RCEP members signed the RCEP on 15 November 2020 during the 37th ASEAN Summit. After the signing, the Thai government shall arrange for a public hearing before presenting to the parliament for ratification. We will keep you updated on this issue if…

On November 15, 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by China and 14 other nations — the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei*, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia*, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore*, Thailand and Vietnam*) plus Australia*, China, Japan*, New Zealand* and South Korea. Many of the products for which tariffs are eliminated are already duty-free. [Countries with an * are also signatories to the CPTPP] RCEP was originally proposed…

On September 30, 2020, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a press release announcing that effective September 30 at all U.S. ports of entry, CBP will detain palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV Holdings Berhad and its subsidiaries and joint ventures. CBP’s Office of Trade directed the issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV based on information that reasonably indicates the…

On 9 September 2020, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the UK has taken a major step in the process of joining CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas. The press release stated in part: International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, alongside the current chair of the CPTPP Commission, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Márquez, opened discussions between senior UK trade officials and…

On May 12, 2020, the Philippines component of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Agreement (IA) between Hong Kong, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) entered into force. The FTA and IA entered into force between Hong Kong and Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in 2019. According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), under the FTA, the Philippines will progressively eliminate and reduce customs duties on goods…

On January 13, 2020, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it had delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. In this Report, Treasury reviewed and assessed the policies of 20 major US trading partners. Treasury also assessed developments over the last several months with China and its currency practices. The announcement said: The Report concluded that while the currency practices…

On 1 January 2020, an approximate total of 23 legislative instruments (primarily consisting of amending legislations) affecting various aspects of trade and customs entered into force. An overview of the key changes is set out below: Amendments to primary legislations – Amendments spanning across approximately 172 pages in aggregate were effected to four primary legislations. This includes the Customs Act 1967 (Customs Act), the Free Zones Act 1990 (Free Zones Act), the Excise Act 1976 (Excise Act) and the Sales Tax Act…

2019 and the Upper House on 7 May 2019, and gazetted as an Act of Parliament on 9 July 2019. The date of coming into force of the Amendment Act is expected to be announced by way of gazette. The Amendment Act spans across 132 pages of amendments and, to date, it represents the most significant round of changes to the Customs Act introduced under the new Malaysian government. In summary, the Amendment Act outlines…

Background

Sistem Maklumat Kastam (“SMK”) is the current operating system for customs declaration for import and export of goods. In a modernising initiative, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (“Customs”) is seeking to replace the SMK with the Ubiquitous Customs system, otherwise known as the uCustoms: a single-window, fully integrated, end-to-end system for customs clearance procedures. The uCustoms has been in the works for a number of years and as it progresses towards completion, we are pleased to provide an update on the status of the uCustoms and what businesses can expect of it.

On January 19, 2019, Global Affairs Canada reported that the inaugural Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission meeting was successfully concluded. The CPTPP Commission, consisting of representatives from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam (the countries for which the CPTPP has entered into force), met in Tokyo, Japan and concluded their session by issuing a Ministerial statement. The Commission meeting allowed CPTPP countries to chart a course for next steps as well as agree on a framework for the accession of new members. The Ministerial Statement follows: