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Lone trading platform mulled

A high-level committee chaired by the secretary of the Department of Finance has agreed to adopt a government-built online platform for traders as the vehicle for the country’s National Single Window, which aims to facilitate trade, heighten transparency in customs procedures and improve revenue collection.

DOF Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran said this online trading platform—TradeNet.gov.ph—will perform the functions of the NSW, which will eventually be interconnected by December to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Single Window, a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the organization’s 10 member-states.

The NSW Steering Committee met last Aug. 30 at the Ayuntamiento building of the Bureau of Treasury to discuss the implementation of the Philippines’ single window, along with related measures to facilitate trade and improve the ease of doing business.

Besides the DOF, the other members of the NSW Steering Committee are the secretaries of the Departments of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior and Local Government, and Health; the governor of the Bangko Sentral and the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Beltran said the members of the steering committee also agreed to “streamline and automate  their respective processes “to minimize costs of doing business and enhance the country’s competitiveness.”
    
The NSW Steering Committee is part of the NSW Task Force for Cargo Clearance created via Executive Order EO No. 482 issued in 2005.
    
The NSW Task Force consists of the Steering Committee and a Technical Working Group (TWG) presided by the Customs Commissioner.
    
“The steering committee handles the NSW and aims at facilitating trade transactions. We want, as much as possible, to reduce processing time, cut transaction costs and enhance competitiveness. The NSW is one of the most important reforms in government,” said Beltran, who was designated by Dominguez to chair and preside over the NSW panel.
    
“We are all performing important functions that will impact our [country’s] capability to generate investments. This is the reason why NSW was created,” Beltran added.
    
At a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting, Beltran explained that as the vehicle for the NSW, TradeNet is expected “to shorten the processing time of import/export clearances, reduce the number of transactions and required documents to be submitted, and remove bureaucratic red-tape that has plagued businesses and citizens when dealing with the government.”
    
TradeNet aims to connect 66 agencies and 10 economic zones involved in approving import and export permits and other trading requirements, he said.
    
The original EO on the NSW covers only seven Cabinet-level departments and 13 government agencies. But with the need to interconnect a total of 66 agencies operating under 17 different departments.