2015 IFCBA Board of Directors Meeting

This year, the IFCBA will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.  A very special Board meeting and social event has been planned for May 18-19, 2015 in Brussels at the WCO Headquarters. For Board Members interested in attending, please click here for more details.

About the IFCBA

The IFCBA has been representing the interests of the worlds' customs brokers and their clients since 1990. Many of our member associations have been involved in similar activities within their own countries for nearly a century. » more

Recent News

The WTO has created a new webpage dedicated to the issue of quantitative restrictions, measures imposed by governments limiting the quantity or value of goods that can be traded. Such measures may take different forms (quotas, prohibitions, voluntary export restraints, etc.) and must be notified to the WTO under a new procedure.

The new webpage is available on the World Trade Organization website at:
https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/mark_11mar15_e.htm

The twelfth review of the trade policies and practices of Japan takes place on 9 and 11 March 2015. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Japan.

Associated documents are available on the World Trade Organization website at:
https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp410_e.htm

Japan features prominently in the list of recent developments in the area of free trade agreements, with the landmark free trade agreement between Australia and Japan having entered into force on 15 January 2015. The agreement provides substantial tariff reductions set to grant over 97% of Australian exports preferential or duty-free entry to Japan.

According to a joint statement issued by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, the deal "lays the foundation for the next phase of bilateral economic relations, and will strengthen 'the special strategic partnership' between Japan and Australia."
Under the terms of the agreement, 99.7% of Australia's exports of resource, energy, and manufacturing goods will now enter Japan duty-free. (You can read the full text of the agreement here.)

Meanwhile, the recent sixth round of trilateral free trade agreement negotiations between Japan, China, and South Korea featured intensive discussions about products, services, investment, subjects, and the scope of the FTA.

Tripartite FTA negotiations were launched in November 2012, and from the outset the challenge of lowering tariffs on sensitive goods and services (particularly agricultural products for South Korea and Japan, and manufactured goods for China) was acknowledged by all three countries.
Lastly, Malaysia is hopeful that negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) can be concluded by year-end (2015), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA), which involves 10 ASEAN members and their six partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. The plan is to include goods, services, investments, competition and intellectual property under the pact.

Sources: Asia Briefing MOFA Business Korea Tax-News Bilaterals

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, is rapidly approaching a new milestone — the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015.

Malaysia, which holds the ASEAN chair this year, is committed to realizing the vision of the ASEAN community, the nation's Prime Minister, Najib Razak said at the inaugural Cap10 ASEAN CEO summit held in Kuala Lumpur on 12 February 2015. "The community is designed to open up opportunities for people and businesses, by creating an ASEAN with freer movement of goods, services, skilled labor and capital." said Mr. Najib. This will also include tariff reductions and streamlining of certain administrative procedures.

After more than a decade, the AEC has already achieved 82.1% of its stipulated targets; however, ASEAN is far from creating the desired single market: tariffs have been lowered, but non-tariff barriers continue to hamper trade in the region; despite the ASEAN Single Window being ready and key trade agreements are already in practice, the region suffers from a lack of infrastructure. Even though these challenges still remain, the 10 member states continue to work together to reduce economic and financial weakness while providing a bigger and more attractive market for investors.

In all, the future is clearly in favor of the AEC.
Sources: AsiaOne East Asia Forum