The Philippines and several other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members are expected to go live on the Asean Single Window (ASW) by yearend, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).
The DOF said in a statement over the weekend member countries will exchange customs and other trade-related documents over the single integrated online platform as part of the efforts of the 10-nation bloc to boost cross-border trade and reduce the cost and time of doing business across the region.
Gil Beltran, DOF undersecretary, said besides the Philippines, the other Asean member-states that will go live on the ASW platform are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and Cambodia.
Myanmar and Laos are expected to join the ASW by November and December 2019, respectively.
Beltran said Asean member-states that are already live on the ASW – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei – exchange over 460,000 customs and other trade-related documents a year at only 10 percent of the usual cost to traders.
Starting next year, additional documents that are expected to be exchanged through the ASW include sanitary and phytosanitary certificates, animal health certificates, self-certification of product origin and shipping documents, Beltran said in a report to Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, during a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting.
Beltran said the United States, Australia and New Zealand will provide technical assistance to Asean to ensure that its members take full advantage of the ASW by 2020.
“Once the ASW is streamlined and used across Asean, businesses will benefit through lower transaction costs and less time to export their goods to countries within the region,” Beltran said.
“Lower transaction costs will, in turn, enhance Asean’s trade competitiveness,” he added.
The DOF said the Philippines will join the ASW via its National Single Window (NSW) dubbed TradeNet, which will facilitate online the processing of permits, licenses and other clearances for the export and import of goods across the region.
TradeNet will be connected and integrated to the NSWs of the other Asean members to expedite cargo clearance and promote regional integration.
The Philippines’ goal is to eventually have all 76 trade regulatory government agencies across 18 government departments fully interconnected. TradeNet will simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products, the DOF said.