"The purpose of the Single Window is not the Single Window"

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During the IPCSA meeting in Hamburg - 1 June - UNECE indicated that since 2005 the Single Window reality looks different than when expected. 

Tom Butterly (UNECE - Dept Director Trade & Economic Cooperation) indicated during the IPSCA conference that since 2005, 10 years after adoptiuon of Recommendation 33, it should be noted that the reality looks different than expected. The purpose of the Single Window is not the Single Window !! Within various domains Single Window programs, each with their own merits and conventions, have emerged. It often separates legal obligations B2A and B2B logistics arranged appointments. There are within the public domain separate Single Window perspectives, i.e. Customs, port, health. Therefore, it can be said that  multiple single windows exist.

Within UNECE the idea has taken root within there should be a single window environment in which the data between single windows through the interoperability principle of Rec. 36 are connected to each other. This concept seems to imply that merging of existing single windows is very unlikely. The connection is rather based on receipted standards between national SW and in the international arena.

UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, since 1947) has developed three Recommendations and Guidelines on Single Window. A fourth is in the final stage of completion.

UNECE Recommendation 33 was published in 2005 shortly after the adoption of the SAFE -Framework by the WCO. They provide four basic structures for a single window  and gives guidelines on how a Single Window can be set up. The main features are:

  • -       Single supply of standardized information and documents;
  • -       Data sharing between public authorities;
  • -       Coordinated control and inspection (OSS);
  • -       Possibilities for the payment of duties and other taxes, ect.

UNECE Recommendation. 34 of 2010, deals with the simplification of the data elements and their standardization for the purpose of the international trade and transport. It describes in a 4-step process how simplified and standardized data set can be realized for the data delivery to the government. These steps are completed in the AnNa process in the definition of the data. Two studies are described in the annex of the harmonization process; one in the USA and one in South Korea.

UNECE Recommendation. 35 2010 also sees the creation of a legal framework for an international Single Window. The establishment of such a legal framework is one of the most important preconditions for the formation of a single window by which the business can be facilitated and the data exchange with single windows of other countries can be made possible.

The concept of UNECE Recommendation. 36 fostering the interoperability between the different Single windows is currently under discussion. Recommendation 36 is probably definitively in the autumn of 2015.