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ISRAEL: Agreement Signed with Hong Kong to Ease Customs Clearance

Hong Kong has signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status with Israel.

The agreement was signed by Hermes Tang, Commissioner of Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise at the 133rd/134th Council Sessions of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels on 26 June 2019. A similar agreement was also signed with Canada at the event, bringing number of such agreements signed by Hong Kong to 11 in total.

The MRA is a WCO initiative intended to facilitate global trade by providing incentives to both customs and traders to work in partnership to improve supply chain security. Under the arrangement, customs administrations in involved countries collaborate to develop processes for mutual recognition of the other’s AEO validations and authorisations. As a consequence, duplication of customs security controls is eliminated or reduced.

Going forward, importers and exporters between the two countries will enjoy enhanced customs clearance, such as reduced inspection and prioritised clearance. According to Hong Kong customs, the inspection rate of AEO cargoes are generally 80% lower than that for non-AEO cargoes.

The agreement should bring benefits to Hong Kong traders. A spokesperson for Hong Kong Customs and Excise said: “Under the newly signed MRAs, accredited Hong Kong traders will be standing in a stronger position to explore the relevant markets by leveraging their AEO status."

The agreement should also bring economic benefits to Israel, according to Eran Yaacov, Director General of the Israel Tax Authority, and is one of the steps the Authority is taking to help Israeli exporters develop and increase exposure to new markets.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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