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ASEAN Countries Gear Up for Customs Clearance Integration
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Monday, October 29, 2012
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Created: Nov 06, 2012

ASEAN countries are pushing ahead with the establishment of National Single Window, an initiative for optimising data exchange and preparing their customs facilities for the regional economic integration in 2015.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong said early this month that Thailand’s National Single Window will be fully established in late 2013, and it will be linked with other ASEAN countries by 2014.

ICT Minister Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap, Thailand also said that the Electronic Transaction Commission has accelerated the establishment of electronic windows created to enhance the connection between private sector and government agencies.

“The main focus is to encourage the linkage of agencies that have not yet linked to the National Single Window,” he added.

According to him, this move will promote the integration and optimisation of data linkage internally and externally to be more secured. Also, it will pave way for the linkage to the ASEAN Single Window scheduled to happen within 2015.

While Thailand is moving forward the national single window project, the Philippines’s Bureau of Customs (BOC) is also gearing up phase II of the same project to integrate trade data and services into a single portal following the success of the establishment of its National Single Window.

“Phase 2 includes preparations for the Philippines’ interconnection with the ASEAN Single Window,” he added and explained that the hardware and software components are easy to implement. But what will probably take more effort and time is the legal aspect.

Under the National Single Window, the BOC processes applications to allow stakeholders to transact with government agencies through a single Internet-based window for permits, licenses, and clearances from traders.

“The centralised system provides any agency information at the click of a button. Government agencies and traders are linked via the Internet through PCs or mobile devices. Traders can create their application entries and verify before sending them to the agency,” said Director Kissinger Reyes from the Management Systems Information Technology Group.

Phase 2 of the national single window will provide a single source of trade data for analytical purposes. This will call for a government-wide rationalization, standardization and harmonization of all trade-related data, added Reyes.

Among others under the ASEAN Single Window System, a process called G2G exchanged of Preferential Certificate of Origin will be applied along with other phytosanitary, health and veterinary certificates, he explained.

As part of realising ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, ASEAN countries signed an agreement in December 2005 to establish and implement the ASEAN Single Window—an electronic system that would facilitate international trade and investment through fast clearance by the Customs Department.

This interrelation would help reduce costs and enhance competitiveness among the member countries, and constituting one of the mechanisms to achieve the AEC.
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