Import and export processes being streamlined for implementation of ASEAN Single Window in 2015

Thirty trade and customs officials from ASEAN member countries have met to discuss streamlining specific import and export processes for the implementation of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) in 2015. ASEAN members have previously agreed to establish their National Single Windows (NSWs) by 2012 and to connect them through the ASW, a cornerstone of establishing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

Through a NSW, traders electronically submit forms for export, import, and transit procedures only once, and they are processed and cleared by multiple government agencies in a single integrated process. The ASW will provide a secure architecture that allows NSWs to exchange cargo clearance data electronically.

Effective cargo clearance processes throughout the supply chain are a pivotal first step to allow efficient information flow for the paperless customs processing and the workshop helped to kick-start the analysis needed to streamline these processes at both national and regional levels.

Participants discussed logistics along the supply chain in cross-border trade, and different actors' roles and responsibilities in each process. They also began prioritising key business processes for further analysis and possible implementation in the ASEAN Single Window environment.

According to the ASEAN Secretariat, companies, including Nike, DHL and Procter and Gamble, stressed that streamlining business processes through national and regional single window, would facilitate and promote trade in the region. Marianne Wong, chair of the Working Group on Technical Matters for the ASW, highlighted the importance of consultations with the private sector and emphasised that "the public and private sectors have to work together on the NSWs and to ensure maximum compatibility eventually with the ASW."

Seven ASEAN Member States will soon pilot test a regional data exchange platform towards the full implementation of the ASW. The activity is part of a capacity building program sponsored by the USA in partnership with ASEAN.