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Asean nations to exchange trade documents via ASW by year-end

The Philippines and seven other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will exchange customs and trade-related documents over a platform that is intended to facilitate cargo clearance and economic integration of Asean countries by year-end.

The Asean Single Window (ASW) is a regional initiative which seeks to enable cross-border electronic exchange of customs documents among Asean’s 10 member-states.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said that starting next year, additional documents that will be exchanged through the ASW include sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates, animal health certificates, self-certification of product-origin and shipping documents.

Beltran also 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,” he said in a statement. “Lower transaction costs will, in turn, enhance Asean’s trade competitiveness.”

Other Asean member-states that will go live on the ASW platform are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei  Darussalamam and Cambodia.

Myanmar and Lao PDR are also expected to join the ASW by November and December, respectively.

The Philippines will join the ASW via its National Single Window (NSW) dubbed TradeNet, which will facilitate 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’s 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.

Last week, the Department of Finance and the Department of Information and Communications Technology said it will work closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) on the full rollout of the TradeNet.

The DA is a key component of TradeNet as it is among regulatory bodies that process permits for imports and exports, particularly of agricultural products, such as rice, which is now freely imported under the rice tariffication law subject to the compliance by traders of SPS requirements.

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