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Implementation of a Single Windows based on the ASYCUDA approach : a guide from UNCTAD

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A new publication from UNCTAD explains step-by-step the process of implementation of a Single Window interface within the ASYCUDA system with the advantages that such interface offers. ASYCUDA is a customs management system developed by UNCTAD that allows the electronic processing of customs declarations and the exchange of data and documentation between Customs, cross-border agencies and traders. Adopted by many African Customs, it accelerates the clearance of imports, exports, transit trade and other trade transactions, thereby reducing the need for face-to-face interaction.

ASYCUDA was adopted in 1981, initially, only for compiling foreign trade statistics, but over time it has evolved to more sophisticated versions: Asycuda V2 first, followed by Asycuda ++, and lastly, by ASYCUDAWorld.

ASYCUDAWorld is the web-based version of the system. This means that it is accessible online, without any need to install a specific software on computers in order to use it. ASYCUDAWorld also supports paperless declaration processing through the use of scanned or electronic documents. On the other hand, a Single Window is defined as a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements

UNCTAD has developed a module on Asycuda World which offers a standard interface that allows the submission by traders of all trade documents (ex. requests of licenses, certificates or permits) related to the completion of a customs transaction. The interface dispatches the trade documents to the specific services of Customs and of the other government agencies for their processing, and issuance of all the requested licenses, certificates pr permits. The main advantage of such a module is that being installed within ASYCUDAWorld, it's totally under the control of Customs. Moreover, it allows the management of requests addressed to Customs and other government agencies through a single application. However, this module it is also viewed by many as not as a full-fledged Single Window, but only a solution that provides varying degrees of Single Window functions at an entry level.

The new UNCTAD publication explores the synergy between ASYCUDA and the electronic Single Window for trade, based on the comparison of lessons learned and case studies of countries that have implemented it. Among them, there are also the experiences of five African countries, notably: Rwanda, Burundi, Comoros, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

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