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UN/CEFACT-Guidance Material-WP-CorePrinciples

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WhitePaper_CorePrinciples_v1E.pdf (application/pdf, 542.88 KB)
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The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has been working on the topic of Single Windows since the early 2000s and has developed a definition which has been largely accepted by national implementation and international organizations. This definition has been recently updated in a new revision of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Recommendation N°33. ((ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2020/07)
“A Single Window is defined as a facility providing trade facilitation 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. Individual data elements should only be submitted once electronically.”
If a National Single Window has been developed in line with UNECE Recommendations N°33, 34 and 35, and it fully or partially ceases to function, this would result in considerable losses in international trade. These losses would be of “systemic importance” to an economy. In other words, the failure of the Single Window facility could potentially trigger an economic crisis.

The basic principles (outlined in section 3 of this White Paper) are meant to serve as universal benchmarks to help design Systemically Important Single Windows that are resilient and globally efficient.

These principles should be of particular importance to Governments because of the effort required to improve and facilitate foreign trade procedures in order to promote a nation’s position in international markets. Indeed, the establishment of a Single Window can improve the trade environment, making the country more attractive for trade flows and foreign investment.

These basic principles are intentionally broad enough to apply under a wide range of circumstances and to have lasting utility.

Single Windows may be subject to many risks, including the following:

  • Compliance risk: Single Windows handle procedures that are governed by changing national and international regulations. Compliance risk occurs when an actor cannot comply due to an inability within the Single Window facility to apply a new regulation. This inability is often due to technical, conceptual and/or organizational constraints.
  • Operational risk: This is the risk that operational factors, such as technical or infrastructure failures or operational errors, will cause or increase the risk of dysfunction.
  • Force majeure risk (a type of operational risk): Involves the risk that an event beyond the control of anyone prevents one or many stakeholders from complying with any of its obligations, including acts of God (earthquakes, drought, tidal waves and floods) war, hostilities, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, mobilization, requisition, revolution, insurrection, radioactive contamination, radioactive toxic explosions.
  • Risk of dysfunction: the risk that a government agency within the system is unable to offer all or part of a service in the context of its exchanges with the Single Window.
  • Systemic risk: In the context a Single Window system, one of the above risks results in significant reduction in the foreign trade operations of the Single Window.
  • Interfacing risk: This is the risk that an established Single Window is not able to interact with the technology of the user community or it cannot be correctly understood by the user community because of different semantic understandings. The Systemically Important Single Window will have the ability to exchange unambiguous data; this is a requirement to enable data federation between the Single Window and the connected actors (i.e. interoperability between the Single Window and users’ systems).