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India, South Korea customs sign agreement

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India and South Korea on Thursday signed an Authorised Economic Operator Mutual Recognition Agreement (AEO-MRA) on the sidelines of the 11th Asia Europe meeting of directors general-commissioners of customs (ASEM) currently underway here.

The agreement was signed between India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman Najeeb Shah and South Korea’s Customs Commissioner Kim Nak Hoe.

“MRAs recognise the AEO programme of each other’s customs administrations and extends benefits to trade on reciprocal basis. It is a key element to strengthen maintain and security of international supply chains and serves as a useful tool to avoid duplication of security and compliance controls,” Shah said on the occasion.

He said he believed that the signing of the MRA should boost bilateral trade and usher in new dimensions of bilateral relations.

Kim also expressed his happiness that the signing of the accord, noting the two countries have reduced trade barriers.

“We further break down the barriers thorough this MRA. I believe that this is a great opportunity for economic cooperation and trade commission between our two countries,” he said.

MRA offers special privileges to exporters recognized under the agreement from the respective countries in the form of speedy clearance lesser examination and customs checks.

The two-day meeting of customs chiefs, which began earlier on Thursday, will conclude Friday with a declaration.

It also aims to review the progress done since the previous ASEM meeting Vienna in 2013 and to chalk out the future course of action till the next meeting in Germany in 2017.

The two-day meeting is focussing on the five main priorities of ASEM — trade facilitation and supply chain security, combating infringement on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), protection of society and environment, involving business and communications and visibility.

(IANS)