Chart of the Week January 15, 2021: ASEAN Export and Import Clearance Times


Sluggish customs and documentation clearance times are significant hurdles to the achievement of seamless trade within ASEAN. This week’s chart illustrates the average export and import clearance times in terms of border and documentary compliances. The data is sourced from the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ database, which records the time and cost associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods in 2019 via questionnaires administered on local freight forwarders, customs brokers, traders, and government agencies. 


  • The recently inked RCEP would require member states to ensure its customs laws and regulations are consistently implemented and applied across all sectors of trade. They are expected to publish the procedures for all movements of trade items, in addition to tariff rates, rules and regulations, and all required documentations online. 
  • Only two ASEAN countries (Malaysia and Singapore) are within the RCEP’s 48-hour target of clearance of goods and lodgment of necessary information. 
  • Myanmar fares the worst with regards to exporting and importing goods, with average border and documentary compliances taking 142 hours and 144 hours respectively for exports and 230 hours and 48 hours respectively for imports. 
  • Singapore is currently faring the best amongst the ASEAN nations, with average border and documentary compliances taking just ten hours and two hours respectively for exports, and 33 hours and three hours respectively for imports. 

Article By Wen Chong CHEAH 

Graphic By Shu En LEE

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