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Faster customs clearance for Singapore companies in Hong Kong

A mutual recognition agreement between both parties means local companies certified by Singapore Customs can expect their exports to Hong Kong to be cleared quicker.

SINGAPORE: Local companies certified by the Singapore Customs will now be able to expect quicker customs clearance in Hong Kong, after a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) between the two parties was signed on Friday (June 27).

In a statement, the Singapore Customs said its Director-General of Customs Ho Chee Pong signed the MRA with Hong Kong's Commissioner of Customs and Excise Clement Cheung during the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Council Sessions in Brussels, Belgium.

The MRA is to enhance supply chain security and facilitate trade between Singapore and Hong Kong. Under the agreement, certified Singapore companies will have their exports recognised to be of lower risk by the Customs and Excise Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HK C&ED), and lead to quicker clearance when the goods arrive at the latter's ports.

"These companies can therefore better plan their cargo movements, particularly for time-sensitive exports, and enjoy savings in costs which would otherwise be incurred due to port delays," the statement said, adding that certified Hong Kong companies can similarly enjoy quick customs clearance in Singapore.

Hong Kong was Singapore's fifth-largest trading partner in 2013, with a trade volume of S$61 billion. This is the sixth MRA inked by Singapore, with the first ones signed with Canada and the Republic of Korea in 2010.

One company who welcomed the news was Xilinx. Mr Eugene Khoo, Director of Logistics, Trade Compliance Asia-Pacific and Inventory Control at Xilinx Asia-Pacific, said: "As we export daily to our customers in Hong Kong, this MRA would greatly benefit both our customers and Xilinx, especially in the event of a trade disruption."

"Xilinx's shipments are time-sensitive and the ability to clear ahead of non-AEO (authorised economic operator) companies would enhance (the company's) customer service to our customers as well as assist them to better manage their manufacturing lead times under such circumstances." 

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