Businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (Participating Countries) are all moving toward the electronic filing of the Form D, also known as the certificate of origin, under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (e-ATIGA Form D).
The Participating Countries are implementing e-ATIGA Form D beginning this year in an effort to bring the ASEAN region closer to achieving the ASEAN Single Window (ASW). They have all made official announcements regarding the implementation, which will cover exports between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The remainder of the ASEAN Member States are expected to follow suit in the implementation of the e-ATIGA Form D, upon successful implementation by the Participating Countries.
By way of background, a certificate of origin (Form D) is a prerequisite for importers within the ASEAN member states (AMSs) to claim preferential duty treatment under the ATIGA.
To foster trade facilitation, the AMSs signed the Protocol on the Legal Framework to Implement the ASEAN Single Window in September 2015. The ASW initiative aims to enhance trade facilitation by simplifying customs clearance processes and reducing cargo shipment and release times through an integrated platform of partnerships among government agencies and end-users, including economic, transport and logistics operators.
As part of the ASW initiative, the Participating Countries have agreed to implement the electronic filing of the Form D, which is expected to simplify and expedite clearance processes, and as a result, increase the trade efficiency and competitiveness amongst the Participating Countries.
Indonesia recently announced that it will be officially accepting e-Form D effective on 28 January 2018. The announcement is found at No. 229/PMK.04/2017 on Import Duty Imposition Based On International Agreement Or Consensus (New Regulation), dated 29 December 2017. Indonesia plans to issue guidelines regarding further implementation of the e-Form D. We will continue to watch for the guidelines and monitor developments as Indonesia further implements the electronic filing of e-ATIGA.
Malaysian exporters may now apply for the Form D online via the Electronic Preferential Certificate of Origin ("ePCO") system. Once approved, the e-ATIGA Form D will be sent directly to the Customs authority of the relevant importing country. The exporter will only be required to provide the importer with the e-ATIGA Form D reference number for clearance process at the importing country, and no hard copy Form D will be required.
Singapore will also be accepting e-ATIGA Form D beginning 1 January 2018. For the transshipment and transshipping of goods through Singapore, the e-ATIGA Form D issued by the first exporting AMS will also be allowed for back-to-back Form D applications in Singapore. This allowance is subject to three conditions: 1) the e-ATIGA Form D must be issued on or after 1 January 2018; 2) the goods must have originated from an exchange-ready AMS; and 3) the e-ATIGA Form D must have been successfully received from that AMS into TradeNet®.
For Singapore-based businesses to utilise this procedure, the Singapore exporter or, if it does not have access to TradeNet® then its declaring agent, must pre-register with Singapore Customs.
Thailand's Department of Foreign Trade released a notification dated 28 December 2017. For Thailand-based business, the e-Form D can be applied online through the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system or Digital Signature (DS) system, which requires pre-registration with the Department of Foreign Trade or 8 Provincial Commercial Offices. The 8 Provincial Commercial Offices include Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Mukdahan, Nong Khai, Sa Kaeo, Chon Buri and Songkhla.
The General Department of Customs Vietnam (GDC) issued Official Letter No. 78 on 5 January 2018 to officially accept the electronic Certificate of Origin (eC/O). Exporters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand may export goods to Vietnam, with eC/O effective 1 January 2018.
In line with the trade facilitation efforts of the World Trade Organisation, ASEAN has placed trade facilitation at the very core of its commitment to market integration. Earlier this year, ASEAN Economic Ministers announced their target to reduce transaction costs for ASEAN trade by 10% by 2020. Along with other trade facilitation initiatives such as the creation of the ASEAN Trade Repository, the ASEAN Tariff Finder, and the ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST), the implementation of the e-ATIGA Form D seeks to increase the ease of doing business within the region, and is certainly a welcome step toward an integrated single ASEAN market.