FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE ASEAN SINGLE WINDOW?
The ASEAN Single Window (ASW) is a key com-ponent of ASEAN's plan to achieve an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. ASEAN Member States are first establishing National Single Win-dows (NSWs) that allow traders to provide infor-mation only once for all government agencies involved in clearing cargo. National Single Windows allow agencies to process information simultaneously and deliver decisions through one channel. The ASW integrates these NSWs to facilitate trade through electronic exchange of cargo clearance data in a synchronized environment.
HOW DOES ASW HELP ASEAN?
The ASW will expedite cargo clearance, further integrate the region's economies, and improve enforcement at the border. Since it operates mainly on the electronic submission, processing, and exchange of cargo clearance data, Member States will be able to use the ASW both for trade facilitation and improved compliance.
HOW IS IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS-ING?
At the national level Singapore has operated its world renowned single window for over two dec-ades. Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand are at relatively advanced stages of NSW completion, while CLMV countries are implementing e-Customs platforms and launching NSW efforts. As these national efforts proceed, Member States have designed and are currently implementing a regional ASW architecture on a pilot basis with a view to further facilitate the exchange of cargo clearance data.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED THUS FAR?
At the regional level, Member States have made progress in establishing the ASW regional architecture for an ASW Pilot Project involving seven Member States and have, so far, exchanged over a million messages on a test basis. While the cross-border exchange currently involves the ATIGA Form D (intra-ASEAN preferential certificate of origin) and the ASEAN Customs Declaration Document (ACDD), Member States are conducting a cross-border Business Process Analysis to identify, analyze, and prioritize other processes and data that will use the ASW architecture.
Member States have conducted an ASW Sustainability Study that developed recommendations for the ASW value proposition, governance structure, regional operations and staffing, business model, financial feasibility, and transition to the live environment.
To create the appropriate legal environment for the ASW, Member States developed a basic legal framework for the ASW Pilot Project and are working towards a framework for the live environment. Several Member States have also conducted national-level legal gap analyses to ensure their legal environment supports the submission, exchange, archiving, equivalence, and use as evidence of electronic documentation in a single window environment. Finally, through a private sector consultations work programme, Member States have conducted several consultations on ASW with the private sector, held the first regional ASW/NSW Symposium between government and private sector, and launched the ASW Web Portal.
WHAT ARE THE INCREMENTAL BENEFITS OF ASW?
- Technical inter-operability: The technical solution that allows ASW Gateways of Member States to seamlessly, reliably, and securely communicate and exchange any kind of data with each other is based on international open industry standards. This means that not only can Member States exchange any type of data among each other but they can also exchange data with any other trading partner that uses international open standards for communication (and not necessarily the same commercial solution currently being used in ASEAN). Thus, the ASW ensures compatibility of all participating Member States – seven currently – with international open communication standards AND ensures that each of those Member States can then exchange data securely and reliably with any trading partners that use international open communication standards.
- Legal inter-operability: Ongoing discussions between Member States seek to ensure that each Member State possesses an appropriate legal framework for single window, which affects not only data exchanged domestically but also data exchanged across borders. Though the eventual Legal Framework that will govern the cross-border exchange of data among Member States will only be binding in ASEAN, it will have implications and an impact at the national level, for example on adoption of information security and data protection principles, which would better enable Member States to exchange data with non-ASEAN trading partners.
- Platform for any business application: As ASEAN economic integration proceeds, and data necessary for trade facilitation, enforcement, and compliance is required or desired, ASW can serve as the platform that can be used by any business application to exchange data across borders. For example, ASEAN will soon be developing, with EU assistance, an ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) that will use the ASW architecture. Other applications may be developed, as long as a business case can be made, for the exchange of any other types of data. Since Member States have agreed to comply with the WCO Data Model and since the ASW uses international open communication standards, it would be relatively straightforward to develop business applications whether for intra-ASEAN use or for use between Member States and non-ASEAN trading partners.
- Better view of regional data and pace of paperless clearance in ASEAN: The ASW Regional Services Portal allows Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat to have a full view of what cargo clearance data is being exchanged between which Member States and during what time periods. The analysis will be valuable to policymakers and researchers who study the pace of economic integration and who are promoting paperless clearance in ASEAN. ASW will also allow government officials to perform pattern recognition in the exchange of cross-border messages, timely information retrieval, cross-referencing capability of cross-border security credentials, and data visualization.
- Time stamping for record keeping in case of disputes: In case of regional dispute in the exchange of electronic cross-border messages, electronic stamping in conducting audits, which the ASW architecture allows, is vital in back-tracing to establish the sequence of exchange of a cross-border transaction.
- General support for regional policies: Aside from the above, a regional set-up like ASW will support Member States' efforts to implement regional guarantee charges for a transit regime, monitor balances of permits and quotas (e.g. for certificates of origin), implement a regional identifier mechanism for consignments and traders, and support common use of other regional parameters.
WHAT OTHER ASW REGIONAL SERVICES COULD BE IMPLEMENTED?
At the regional level, Member States will continue to develop the ASW Regional services that consist of the following set of applications:
- A Reference Data Services (RDS) application that will serve to manage the master copy of the regionally agreed reference (nomenclature) data and disseminate changes to all ASW Gateways. Reference data covers both national reference data, e.g. a list of Customs office codes or Authorized Economic Operator codes, which each Member State is responsible to maintain and update, and common reference data, e.g. ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Code, country names and codes, currency codes, etc., which would be maintained by a regional management team;
- Management Information System (MIS) application serves to maintain the master copy of the trusted PKI certificate list and to disseminate changes to all ASW Gateways in the ASW network. The MIS application also allows the collection and consolidation of relevant statistics and makes them available to Member States. Moreover, it enables the management of the master copy of the unavailability data and disseminates changes to all in the ASW network; and
- ASW Regional Services Portal allows authorized personnel to effect and/or view on-line changes to Reference Data and PKI Trusted Certificates.