APEC members look to improve trade by digitizing customs procedures

15:51 | 14/08/2018 Cooperation

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies will go ahead with implementing a more streamlined digital process for import and export clearances, making trade easier, cheaper and more feasible for businesses in the Asia-Pacific.

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Guided by the findings of a new study by APEC Policy Support Unit into single window interoperability, the initiative aims to align one-stop platforms for completing import and export clearance requirements.

"As customs authorities in APEC economies harness technology to improve data flows between businesses and border control agencies, we are beginning to think about how our approaches can fit together to make cross-border trade more seamless and efficient," Chair of the APEC Sub-Commitee on Customs Procedures, James Kombuk Bire said following officials meetings in Port Moresby on August 13.

Drawing on examples from Australia, Indonesia and Peru, the study provides recommendations for harmonizing APEC economies' varying levels of single window development to achieve stronger regional economic integration.

The focus on single window systems dramatically streamlines the process for traders, reducing time and costs for every level of business.

"Harmonizing customs procedures in the APEC region as they become more automated could make it that much easier and cheaper to ship around the region, and encourage businesses on the small-end of the spectrum to trade in greater numbers," Kombuk Bire said.

According to the APEC Policy support unit report, automating the transfer and processing of shipping information like health, security and financial data via single windows can save as much as US$115 per cargo container.

"The simpler it is to satisfy license, permit and fee requirements, the easier it is for an e-retailer in Pittsburgh or local leather goods producer in Papua New Guinea to take advantage of new market opportunities in the digital economy," UPS Asia-Pacific Vice President of Public Affairs Shiumei Lin said.

"APEC continues to lead the way in customs modernization to do just that," she added.

Theo NDO/Xinhua