Success Story: ASEAN – Single Window

How the electronic exchange of border documents puts ASEAN trade into high gear

  • Siège social

    Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Secteur

  • Challenge

    For trade within the ASEAN region, replace a slow and costly paper-based system with the electronic exchange of cross-border documents through a solution that is swift, secure and accurate.

  • Solution

  • Résultats

    • Enhance trade among ASEAN Member States through the ASEAN Single Window, a driver for the economic integration of the region
    • Streamline the import and export process by entering data only once to eliminate duplication of effort and transcription errors, and by sending cross-border documents electronically
    • Speed up time to market by expediting the entire customs clearance process, such that goods are swiftly released at the port of entry and quickly arrive at their destination
    • Reduce the cost of doing business by enabling importers and exporters to cut costs by eliminating the delivery of paper documents by courier, and by saving money on labor, logistics and cargo storage

Streamlining trade by the electronic exchange of border documents

ASEAN is a vibrant economic community that works to encourage economic integration and facilitate trade among its 10 Member States.

That’s a complex task, given 10 different national customs systems, hundreds of types of documents involved in the trade process, and data that may need to be reentered up to 20 times for a single shipment. Add to this that border documents traditionally have to be issued on paper and sent by courier, and there’s a significant risk of escalating costs, delays and errors.

But ASEAN has found the solution for streamlining the trade process: the ASEAN Single Window (ASW). It’s an integrated platform that expedites cargo clearance by the electronic exchange of border documents among ASEAN Member States.

The ASW connects and integrates the National Single Window (NSW) of each ASEAN Member State. Each NSW connects that nation’s trade community, including importers, exporters, manufacturers, shipping and logistics firms, customs brokers, banks and government agencies.

Reducing trade transaction costs and time

To test the feasibility and functionality of the ASW project, ASEAN issued an RFP in 2011 for a preliminary pilot to be developed with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The pilot was designed to show that the ASW could:

  • Enable standardized information exchange, procedures, formalities and international best practices
  • Reduce the time needed to process import and export documents by having companies submit import, export and transit data only once
  • Accelerate the release of cargoes, and reduce trade transaction costs and time

Axway B2Bi was selected based on its technical approach, ease and speed of implementation, high degree of security and traceability, end-to-end visibility, and competitive pricing.

Accelerating trade with the exchange of live data

To deploy the pilot, Axway installed an ASW Gateway (a B2Bi instance) at the NSW of each of the participating Member States, and at the Regional Services center in Jakarta. The pilot had to ensure the secure and reliable exchange of messages between each ASW Gateway, with:

  • Once-and-only-once message delivery using Web services based on SOAP/REST via HTTP(S)
  • Message data integrity, authentication and authorization, optional payload encryption, PKI use and non-repudiation

The preliminary pilot was a success, and the lessons learned from the experience led ASEAN to issue a second RFP in 2015 for a full-scale rollout. Axway again won the bid, modified the solution in light of new requirements, and proceeded with the deployment.

On March 1, 2016, the production environment went live. Currently, five Member States (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) are exchanging live data, and others will come on board soon.

“Axway came to this project not just as an IT vendor, but as a company that understands how customs and clearance processes work,” said Rebecca Acuña, Economic Growth & Governance Team Lead for the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia. “That was critical in making this a success, as was their support for the Member States.”

Blazing a trail with electronic delivery of the Certificate of Origin

The Certificate of Origin is the first document to be sent through the ASW. Technically called ATIGA Form D (for ASEAN Trade in Goods and Agreement), the Certificate of Origin is issued by the exporter to certify the provenance of the cargo. As goods produced and traded within ASEAN may qualify for preferential tariffs, the Certificate of Origin is key to obtaining lower rates.

Without electronic delivery of the Certificate of Origin, containers often sit at the port facility for seven to 14 days waiting for the paper document to arrive and be presented to customs, generating significant delays and costs.

Since the ASW went live, more than 130,000 Certificates of Origin have been exchanged electronically by the five participating ASEAN Member States. In this initial phase of deployment, Indonesia is already using the electronic document to pre-authorize a preferential tariff and release the container from the port facility. Nonetheless, the paper version of the document must still be received within 30 days as confirmation.

Once all ten Member States have ratified the Protocol of the Legal Framework (PLF) that underpins the ASW, granting of preferential rate will shift to electronic form, and the cargo release time will be reduced even further. Meanwhile, ASW statistics are being already generated by Regional Services to report on transaction history and volumes, and other key information.

Indonesia, one of the five early adopters, has clearly seen the impact of exchanging the Certificate electronically. “We’ve cut the cargo release time by half for ASEAN-origin containers,” said Muwasiq Noor, Deputy of Operation and Development, Indonesia National Single Window Operating Agency. “We’ll see even greater benefits once everything is paperless.”        

“Axway came to this project not just as an IT vendor, but as a company that understands how customs and clearance processes work. That was critical in making this a success, as was their support for the Member States.”

 

A driver for the economic integration of the ASEAN region

Current and anticipated future benefits that derive from the ASW include the ability to:

  • Enhance trade among ASEAN Member States. The ASW is essential to the economic integration of the ASEAN region, and is frequently described in these terms in official communiqués.
  • Streamline the import and export process. Import, export and transit data are entered only once, eliminating duplication of effort and transcription errors, while cross-border documents are transferred electronically in a highly secure fashion.
  • Speed up time to market. By expediting the entire customs clearance process, goods can be swiftly released at the port of entry and quickly arrive at their destination market.
  • Reduce the cost of doing business. The ASW enables importers and exporters to cut costs by eliminating the need for delivery of paper documents by couriers, and by saving money on labor, logistics and cargo storage.

Axway’s role in developing and deploying the ASW is held in high esteem by its stakeholders. “Axway gives us tremendous support,” said Noor. “They play a critical role in helping Member States integrate the ASEAN Single Window. For Indonesia, it’s been priceless.”

An ambitious roadmap for the future

ASEAN has an ambitious program for extending the reach of the ASW, including the:

  • Integration of the remaining Member States, as soon as each one is ready
  • Ratification of the PLF by all 10 Member States, which will eliminate the need for paper confirmation of electronic document transfers
  • Integration of additional export declaration documents, starting with the ASEAN Customs Declaration Document, and the electronic Phytosanitary and Animal Health Certificates, which certify compliance with plant health and food safety standards

These initiatives are moving forward with Axway’s active assistance. “USAID is very satisfied with the solution Axway has provided to meet the needs of the ASW,” said Acuña. “Axway has been a good partner all along, working both with USAID and the ASEAN Member States to make the idea of the ASW a reality.”

“Axway gives us tremendous support. They play a critical role in helping Member States integrate the ASEAN Single Window. For Indonesia, it’s been priceless.”

 

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