The growth of global trade and increasing security threats to the international movement of goods have forced Customs administrations to shift their focus more and more to securing the international trade flow and away from the traditional task of collecting customs duties. To counter such threats, there is an urgent need to enhance the security and resilience of the global supply chain. It is crucial to develop and maintain the trust and relationships amongst all stakeholders to facilitate and promote international trade securely, efficiently and cost-effectively. Customs modernization and harmonization therefore represent a key objective to facilitate international trade. Customs must also continue to maintain effective controls to combat cross-border crime and terrorism, which have grown and become sophisticated as a result of the new possibilities offered by world markets.
In this context, the SAFE Framework of Standards – a major global initiative to enhance the security and facilitation of the international supply chain – was developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and its Member States in close consultation with international organizations and the world’s business community with a view to revolutionize Customs operations to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Implementation of the SAFE Framework contributes positively to economic and social development, act as a deterrent to international terrorism, secure revenue collections and promote trade facilitation worldwide.
For MSME exporters, the type of benefits that they may expect are more concrete and may include, for example: a reduced data set for cargo release, expedited processing and release of shipments, a minimum number of cargo security inspections, priority processing by customs during periods of elevated threat conditions or following an incident requiring the closing of a port and/or borders, etc. However, the benefits for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) membership for the MSME may be more difficult to demonstrate to entities that operate from positions which are remote from the process portion of a cargo movement. It is in this middle ground in a cargo movement, somewhere between the manufacturer and the consignee, where a large number of SMEs are employed.
Under this background, ISSME organised a Sensitization Seminar in Noida on December 24, 2014. The Seminar focused on the issues and concerns related to international trade and supply chain security standards laid down in SAFE Framework of Standards. The chief objective of the Seminar was to discuss the challenges confronted by MSME sector in international trade; educate the MSMEs about the SAFE Framework of standards; and share information and experiences on export promotion through enhanced customs administration.