Agencies explore workable single window system customised for Fiji

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Single window workshop participants with Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) chief executive officer Visvanath Das, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali and World Bank facilitators at the FRCS Regional Training Centre in Nasese, Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED/FRCS

TWENTY three trade facilitation agencies are drafting a workable single window system customised for Fiji to ensure secure trade.

A single window is a system that allows traders to lodge documentation to achieve entry, clearance, and release of their goods from a single convenient location.

World Bank facilitators conducted a single window workshop for these agencies organised by the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) at the Revenue and Customs Complex, WCO Regional Training Centre in Nasese, Suva yesterday.

According to Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (Revenue and Customs) chief executive officer and chair of NTFC Visvanath Das, the Fijian Government had given a firm commitment to implement single window following the ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement on February 22, 2017, which aims to increase efficiency and effectiveness for trade facilitation agencies.

“Fiji’s position as the hub of the Pacific and the trade and economic development opportunities available through the global trade opportunities as well as regional trade agreements needs to be capitalised on,” Mr Das said.

He said the 23 agencies aspired to construct one single window clearance system for traders and global supply chain actors.

But in considering a single window system for Fiji, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali said it was important to take into account our own unique requirements and conditions, while replicating the successes and efficiency gains of single window systems in other countries.

It is understood Fiji is modelling countries like Singapore and Mauritius among other countries that have implemented an automated system through which a trader can submit electronic trade declarations to the various authorities for processing and approval in a single application.

Mr Ali said the creation of a single window system, for the coordinated submission and flow of import export documents, is one of the most effective ways of expediting the movement and clearance of goods and ultimately improving trade.

“In practice, the long-term objective is to transfer from a paper-based procedure to a single window electronic system. In order for the single window system to be effective, close cooperation and coordination between all departments and authorities involved are vital,” he added.

Mr Ali acknowledged the efforts of the Fijian business community for working with the Government in achieving its objectives of improving Fiji’s overall trade performance and helping to establish Fiji as the modern
hub of the Pacific, as set out in the five-year and 20-Year National Development Plan.

He said in order to progress the work on single manifest, a time value survey is currently being undertaken, which would determine the actual time and cost savings of moving from the current system to the single manifest.

“In addition, Revenue and Customs is piloting an electronic platform, which links all trade facilitation agencies to the ASYCUDA World. The agencies will be able to access manifests electronically and screen consignments for either clearance or further investigation,” he added.

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