CusMod2 targets single window for trade regulation

Single window a 'major priority' for border agency CEOs

The New Zealand Customs Service is embarking on a project to ease the regulatory burden of filing trade related documents and information as part of its CusMod2 systems overhaul.

Called the Single Window Project, the effort was born out of international efforts to reduce regulatory burdens placed on international trade. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has recommended governments and traders establish "single windows" so trade-related information and documents "need only be submitted once at a single entry point to fulfil all such regulatory requirements.

"The recommendation also suggests that participating authorities and agencies should co-ordinate their respective controls and fee payment through the Single Window," a Customs project document shows.

The initial focus is to provide a more efficient interface for industry within a country, however, interoperability with other countries' single windows is a key element of the international concept.

The World Customs Organisation and APEC have adopted the recommendation and New Zealand Customs is a member of APEC's sub-committee on customs procedures.

The document, issued to recruit a project manager for the development, says New Zealand's regulatory requirements are not as burdensome as many, but there is still room for improvement.

However, it notes that "this overview does not include data and documents required by permit-issuing agencies such as MFAT, Ministry of Health, ERMA, Police, etc. UN/CEFACT recommendation 33 includes this activity in its definition of single window."

Some mapping of processes has been undertaken for the project, however, further scoping is a major priority for the agencies involved, Customs says.

"Border sector agency chief executives have agreed that a border sector project be established to develop the requirements and implementation options for New Zealand's Trade Single Window, which has been funded by government in budget 2008/09," the document says.

"Customs, MAF/BNZ and NZFSA each have systems development projects under way, which will be informed by the Trade Single Window project outcomes, and vice versa."

Potential for Australia/New Zealand alignment means the agencies will have to share their thinking and progress with their Australian counterparts "to facilitate future alignment".