Businesses say 'simplification is the key' in the development of the new Single Trade Window

Wed 26 Oct 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
IOE News

Digital trade Single Trade Window

Businesses are calling on the government to reduce barriers to trade and to make it simpler.

Speaking on a webinar about the government’s plans to introduce a new Single Trade Window system for cross-border data exchange, Jane Smith, the managing director of Jointine Products, said “simplification is the key”.

“Keep it as simple as possible and user friendly so that people aren’t having to go to guides to figure out which codes to put into the system,” she said.

“Trade relies on smaller businesses – this is where the country grows its roots from,” she added. “It’s about getting small businesses, like ours, to be internationally successful. As few barriers to this as possible would be very welcome.”

Business panel

Smith was speaking on a panel of businesses as part of the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) free webinar earlier this week.

She was joined by Sylwia Nowak, the senior customs and foreign trade compliance officer at Brose Ltd, and David Box, the advocacy and duty optimisation manager at GSK.

During the webinar, over half (52%) of the attendees said ‘speed and efficiency’ would be the biggest benefit for their business from the introduction of a Single Trade Window.

The UN for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business defines a Single Trade Window as: “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit- related regulatory requirements”.

Customs procedures

Another key benefit for traders would be making it easier for businesses to apply and use customs special procedures.

These procedures enable companies to defer, reduce or eliminate tariffs and duties, and more effectively manage their supply chains.

Nowak mentioned transit and simplified declaration procedures as among those which could benefit from systems being integrated into the Single Trade Window.

“We hope the process will be much easier to apply and get these authorisations,” she said.

Risk of errors

Although the panel was largely positive about the benefits of a Singe Trade Window, Box was keen to point out that there are concerns over errors being made in the data that’s going to be inputted into the system.

“We’d want there to be clarity about the risk of errors and user liability across the supply chain – especially in instances where traders may use intermediaries and third parties,” he said.

Get involved

IOE&IT director of special projects and international development Kevin Shakespeare acknowledged the concerns about the new border system and advised businesses from all parts of the supply chain to get involved in shaping the future direction of it.

“This is not just about importing and exporting, it’s about the wider supply chains,” he said. “There are so many actors involved in international supply chains. We need to involve banks, cargo insurance providers, freight forwarders – the whole industry, not just government departments.”

He referred delegates to an ongoing IOE&IT survey, which anyone can participate in, to feed back their views about the new Single Trade Window to the government.

Experts’ view

The webinar also featured a panel of experts who discussed the importance of the Single Trade Window and what the UK can learn from the development of similar systems abroad, including in Brazil.

You can read more about this panel here.