Third Symposium on the ASEAN Single Window: Current Impact and Future Opportunities

Monday, 12 November 2018.

The third (3rd) Symposium on the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), conducted in Singapore on 4 June 2018, was organised to provide updates the private sector on the status of the ASW live operation. At the same time, a one-day long symposium was meant to also highlight possible features of the ASW that encourage traders to use the ASW enabling infrastructure and concrete steps that can be taken to achieve the goals of the ASW.

The Symposium was attended by representatives from all ASEAN Member States, private sector partners involved in their trade facilitation initiatives, dialogue partners, as well as leaders from USAID, US-ABAC and the ASEAN Secretariat. Opening remarks were provided by: Ms. Sulaimah Mahmood, Senior Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore; Mr. Robert Yap Min Choy, President ASEAN BAC; H.E. Dr. Aladdin Rillo, Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Economic Community; and Ms. Julie Chen, Head of the Office of ASEAN Affairs, USAID Mission to Indonesia. Concluding remarks were provided by Mr. Gil Gonzales, ASEAN BAC.

The event was held in partnership with USAID ASEAN Connectivity Through Trade and Investment (ACTI) Project, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and the ASEAN Secretariat that aimed to: i) facilitate a broad discussion with the private sector regarding recent developments in and future options for the ASW and Member States' National Single Window (NSW); ii) update the launch of live operation of the ASW on 1 January 2018; and iii) initiate a discussion to develop a new medium-term plan for the ASW for the period 2019-2025.

In January 2018, five ASEAN Member States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, began using electronic certificates of origin to grant preferential tariffs. Three more countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, and the Philippines) are now well on the road to joining the first five, while Lao PDR and Myanmar are developing their NSW.

The inputs from private sector and the dialogue partners of ASEAN, as well as trading communities, on the key opportunities to expand the ASW's functions for medium-term plan were also deliberated during the symposium. These were to include to promote e-Supply Chain and e-invoicing between the ASEAN trading and logistics communities; and to include additional documents that are critical to border agency clearance, for instance pre-arrival customs declarations, implement risk management.

Establishing a Single Window is not easy, but it is feasible if a country has strong legal mandates and political support. Implementing a Single Window will not result to job loss, instead it will be a job enrichment opportunity for each implementing agencies/country.

Outcomes and recommendations shared by other members of the panel to expand the ASW included, but not limited to: i) upgrading the communications architecture of the ASW; ii) supporting implementation of self-certification of origin; iii) implementing document level authentication (digital signatures); iv) exchanging Certificates of Origins with dialogue partners; and v) supporting risk management/pre-arrival clearance through exchange of information on exports and on Authorised Economic Operators (AEO).

A ceremonial event was also conduted to commemorate the 10 years of ASEAN-US Cooperation on the implementation of the ASEAN Single Window. Participating the commemoration were: Mr. Lim Teck Leong, Deputy Director-General (Corporate and Facilitation), Singapore Customs; H.E. Dr. Aladdin Rillo, Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Ecnomic Community; Amb. Michael Michalak, US-ABC; Mr. Robert Yap Min Choy, ASEAN BAC; and Ms. Jane Bocklage, Charge d'affaires, U.S. Mission to ASEAN.


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