U.S. Trade and Development Agency

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Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                           MEDIA INQUIRIES:

  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357



HANOI (November 16, 2006) The benefits of customs reform and modernization in facilitating trade were demonstrated today in a USTDA-funded e-Manifest Pilot Project in Vietnam. USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey unveiled the project at the National Center for APEC's annual CEO Summit that was held in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meetings this week in Vietnam. The project consists of a public-private partnership designed to support the implementation of the World Customs Organization Framework to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and to further promote the objectives of the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative.


"USTDA recognizes the power of trade to unleash the dynamic energy of the private sector and to serve as a catalyst for development," said Director Askey in presenting the results of the pilot project. "We hope that this project can serve as a model that can be replicated throughout the APEC region."


The pilot project was implemented utilizing a USTDA grant, valued at $601,893, to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. It responded to Vietnam Customs' plans to undertake a large-scale modernization of its facilities and processes using World Bank loan and Vietnam government funding. The project was designed to show the benefits of public-private collaboration using an e-Manifest system to improve security risk management, timeliness, completeness and accuracy of customs clearance transactions for airfreight carriers.


Unisys Corporation (Blue Bell, Pennsylvania) and FedEx Express Corporation (Memphis, Tennessee) carried out the demonstration project, with oversight from the National Center for APEC (Seattle, Washington). It included installation of the e-Manifest system at two airports in Vietnam and involved the creation of a more transparent process that will enable Vietnam Customs to conduct a portion of its clearance procedures prior to the arrival of goods. Unisys and FedEx both contributed additional resources toward the completion of the pilot project.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.