UAE, KSA customs DGs to discuss ways to facilitate mutual trade
- United Arab Emirates: Thursday, January 17 - 2013 at 09:27
- PRESS RELEASE
Directors General of customs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) held their 5th meeting on this January 13-14 in Riyadh.
The UAE delegation to the meeting was headed by HE Khalid Ali Al Bustani; Acting Director General of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA), while the Saudi delegation was headed by HE Saleh bin Manei Al Khaliwi; Director General of the Saudi Customs.
The meeting is the 5th in a series of regular customs meetings in both countries; according to Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FCA Acting DG. The meeting aims to find solutions for pending issues in the field of trade, information exchange and coordination in facilitating trade and removing customs barriers facing mutual trade, Al Bustani said.
The meetings with the Saudi side, Al Bustani said, are in response to instructions of the good leadership in both countries that it is necessary to cooperate and coordinate to put the obligation of the GCC customs union into effect and take the necessary actions to increase the rates of mutual trade and enhance the performance in the customs ports in both countries.
"The meeting seeks to take practical steps to facilitate the mutual trade, ensure swift goods movement by enhancing the customs cooperation and exchange opinions about the mechanisms needed to face any obstacles in the way of goods movement between the two sister countries through agreed contacts to meet citizens ambitions in both countries", said Al Bustani.
Several issues related to traffic in mutual customs ports were discussed in the meeting, he said. The Saudi side confirmed that Al-Ghuwaifat- Al Bathaa traffic stream saw neither congestion nor crowdedness since last July after the measures taken based on the decisions and recommendations of customs directors general in the previous meetings, he explained.
The meeting covered the mechanisms to fight the counterfeit goods and exchange information about the contraband in addition to the latest developments of Al-Ghuwaifat- Al Bathaa electronic customs connection, said Al Bustani. The meeting also addressed the complaints of national factories outside the free zones, the trucks non-compliance with standard GCC transportation specifications and how to deal with second-hand cars while crossing the Saudi territories, he said.
The customs director generals in both countries agreed to hold the 6th meeting at the UAE in the second half of next August to review the steps and mechanisms adopted to face the challenges during the 5th meeting, the FCA Acting Director General said.
The UAE, he said, is keen to remove all obstacles facing the mutual trade with the KSA, applying the instructions of the GCC leaders and paving the way to end the transitional phase of the customs union and solve all pending issues before the mid-year of 2014.
Al Bustani explained that coordination, exchanging opinions and deliberations with Saudi and other GCC customs departments in the international events constitute a basic pillar in the FCA strategy. International customs coordination between the two countries, he said, is a fruit of the initiative launched by the UAE, believing that collective negotiations as one unit can bear fruits in customs business at the international level.
The KSA, he said, has maintained position as a UAE top trade partner among the GCC states. It is rather one of the most important trade partners of the UAE in the Arab world and the Middle East, according to the UAE non-oil foreign trade statements and statistics, as the UAE is the KSA's main trade gateway.
From 1999 to the late first half of 2012, the KSA, alone, has had a share of more than 41% of total UAE non-oil trade with the GCC states, said Al Bustani.
"The FCA statistics show that the KSA- UAE mutual trade hit about Dhs194bn from 1999 to the late first half of 2012. In this period, the UAE imports from the KSA hit about Dhs121.5bn, while the UAE exports to the KSA were at Dhs26.2bn and the re-exports were at Dhs46.3bn," he said.
"Our cooperation and coordination with Saudi Customs are based on the FCA strategic goals of protection of social security, facilitation of trade and consolidation of cooperation with the UAE trade partners across the world," he said.
Bilateral customs coordination, he said, is at the highest levels of customs business. This coordination is characterized by keenness and willingness to succeed whether in the joint UAE-KSA customs committees or at the level of contact teams and coordination meetings in all issues on the customs agenda. Any obstacles or challenges are immediately solved through customs contact teams and joint committees.
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