Project PurposeUN/CEFACT has worked on Single Window topics since the early 2000s. Single Windows are defined as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once.” As underlined in the recent UN/CEFACT “Technical Note on Terminology for Single Window and Other Electronic Platforms,” this definition implies five key elements: • The parties involved in trade and transport • Standardized information and documents • Single entry point • Fulfilling regulatory requirements • Single submission of individual data And these, in turn, signify that the platform itself should have a clear government mandate in order to be considered a national single window. However, as experience has shown, implementation of a national single window is not an easy task, it involves strong engagement of all government agencies and can take years to render the trade facilitation measures promised to traders and agencies. Meanwhile, the private sector sees the benefits that such organizations can provide and are not necessarily waiting for these to be fully implemented… they are launching facilitation platforms now and traders – especially micro and small-medium enterprises – are able to immediately reap the benefits. These private-sector driven initiatives correspond to what the UN/CEFACT Terminology paper calls a “Single Submission Portal.” The current project proposes to provide recommendations and guidance on such trade-driven initiatives.
Project ScopeThe project will look at the potential stakeholders, the services such systems can provide and potential management responsibilities. The initial focus will be on a national environment of data exchange only. It will provide guidance on these points and general recommendation for facilitating the implementation of such systems. Particular attention will be focused on benefits and needs of micro-enterprises and small-medium enterprises. The project proposes to study different forms of Single Submission Portals including e-Commerce platforms, International Trade Integrated Service (ITIS) Platforms, Port Community Systems, Cargo Community Systems, Data Pipelines or Interorganizational Operating Information Systems. International Trade Integrated Service (ITIS) Platforms can assemble the service providers and service partners (such as customs broker, freight forwarding, logistics service providers, warehouses, export agencies, banks, insurance companies, law firms, etc.) to provide MSMEs professional international trade services, such as clearance, tax refund, foreign exchange settlement, logistics, insurance, financing, legal advice and so on. Finally, this project will propose how such Single Submission Portals can provide the same or similar trade facilitation mechanisms as a National Single Window. Some countries may want to use such systems as a viable alternative to a National Single Window and rely on such systems as an alternative to their WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement requirements.
Project DeliverablesThe project deliverables are: a) Recommendation on Single Submission Portals b) Guidelines on Single Submission Portals c) Single Submission Portals ‘Case Study Repository’ submission template and initial contributions
Exit Criteriaa) Recommendation on Single Submission Portals • Internal and external review logs showing how comments have been addressed • Final draft text ready for publication b) Guidelines on Single Submission Portals • Internal and external review logs showing how comments have been addressed • Final draft text ready for publication c) Single Submission Portals ‘Case Study Repository’ submission template and initial contributions • Gathering and review of case studies completed
Project Team Membership and Required Functional ExpertiseMembership is open to experts with broad knowledge in the area of international trade facilitation and e-commerce for MSMEs (legal, procedural, implementation…). In addition, Heads of Delegations may invite technical experts from their constituency to participate in the work. Experts are expected to contribute to the work based solely on their expertise and to comply with the UN/CEFACT Code of Conduct and Ethics and the policy on Intellectual Property Rights.
Geographical FocusThe geographical focus of the project is global.
Initial ContributionsUNECE Recommendation 33 – Single Window Recommendation (ECE/TRADE/352) UN/CEFACT Technical Note on Terminology for Single Window and Other Electronic Platforms (ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2017/10) Trends for Collaboration in International Trade: Building a Common Single Window Environment (ECE/TRADE/411)
Resource RequirementsParticipants in the project shall provide resources for their own participation. The existence and functioning of the project shall not require any additional resources from the UNECE secretariat. The project will be prepared in between Forums, principally using conference call facilities (provided by the UNECE secretariat).
Project Proposal Files