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PH seeks stronger customs cooperation with Russia

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has called for closer cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the field of customs administration, as a way to further strengthen economic ties between the two major global trade hubs.

During a recent meeting with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev, Dominguez suggested that the head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation make a tour of the countries comprising the ASEAN to start the process of establishing stronger customs ties with economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“He (the head of the Russian Federal Customs Service) can make a tour of ASEAN, and maybe if there’s an ASEAN meeting of customs officials, we can invite him as a special guest,” Dominguez said during the meeting.

Khovaev, in turn, welcomed Dominguez’s suggestion as a way of boosting Russia’s ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. He also underscored Russia’s “interest in building a solid partnership” with the Philippines.

The Philippines along with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam comprise the ASEAN.

Russia and the Philippines have an existing Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement signed in 2013.

The accord aims to promote cooperation between the customs agencies of the two countries to help fight transnational crimes and commercial fraud, and prevent customs offenses.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña visited Moscow in October last year to discuss with Russian officials measures to further strengthen cooperation on customs administration concerns.

The Philippines and Russia have forged several agreements following the visit of President Duterte in Moscow last May 2017. These include the Agreement on Defense Cooperation, Tourism Joint Action Program 2017-2019, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Industry Development, MOU on Agriculture Cooperation, Agreement on Exchange of Intelligence Information, and Agreement on Cooperation on Transportation.#