SASEC Discussion Platforms

SASEC helps its member countries build confidence and mutual trust by creating discussion platforms where shared interests are identified and addressed, for the benefit of all members. Together, the countries have established an overarching three-tier informal consultation process where they agree on agendas for coordinated action:

SASEC Nodal Officials Meeting

reviews / provides strategic direction and guidance for cooperation under SASEC

SASEC Technical Working Groups

for trade facilitation and transport, energy, and ICT, that review strategic priorities and project-based progress

Technical Sub-committees

that carry out the agreed actions of the working groups

The SASEC discussion platforms help countries plan and coordinate development initiatives at a regional level, and then prioritize and implement these projects at a national level. Gathering regularly at all three levels allows the SASEC countries to develop effective mechanisms to further cooperation and trade.

SASEC Trade Facilitation Working Group

This Working Group is represented at the Joint Secretary or Director General level. It typically meets once or twice a year to

  • review strategic priorities of the SASEC trade facilitation agenda
  • assess the progress of investments, technical assistance projects, and other initiatives
  • identify issues and challenges of trade facilitation in SASEC countries
  • share information and experience on customs and trade facilitation in the region

For the past several years, the SASEC working groups of trade facilitation and transport have met together in order to optimize joint planning, prioritization, and implementation of both physical infrastructure initiatives and the ‘softer’ aspects of trade and transport facilitation.

SASEC Customs Sub-group (SCS)

The SCS was formally established in 2013 by the Trade Facilitation Working Group to promote subregional trade facilitation initiatives through concerted Customs reforms and modernization, strengthened inter-agency cooperation, and enhanced partnerships with the private sector in order to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade development.

The SCS also serves as the regional forum for addressing issues of common interest relevant to Customs cooperation. It discusses and agrees on action plans for the Customs-related strategic thrusts under the SASEC Trade Facilitation Strategic Framework, and on national and regional capacity-building programs for member countries.