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Jul 18, 2019

Belize to Improve Cross-Border Trade with Single Window

The World Customs Organization and the Belize Customs Department wrapped up day-four of an all week training for agencies involved in cross-border trade. The event brought together agencies that are involved on the cross-border chain, including the Bureau of Standards, BAHA, the F.I.U. and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, to introduce them to a system called Single Window. It is a software that is expected to be implemented in Belize; however, this week’s event is to kick start that process by showing the agencies what the programme is all about and where they fit in.  The Single Window is a computerized system that is being used to improve the way goods are imported and exported.  The way it works is that all documentation for trade will be lodged and accessed from that one electronic point.  Today, we stopped by the training session where the facilitators shared more about the system and the benefits it will bring.


Armen Manukyan

Armen Manukyan, Representative, World Customs Organization

“Single Window environment is enabling a digital cooperation, coordination of those efforts to control and to facilitate the trade. So, the trade has more quality services provided to them and we can more easily interact with different agencies and different governmental branches using just one single interface instead of going to different agencies every time. We can actually access the services provided in one place where we can do all the necessary procedures, requirements for the permit and certificates and also clear through the customs declaration, and release.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, it cuts down time and improves efficiencies?”


Armen Manukyan

“Exactly. This is all about efficiencies and Single Window has three core components, including increasing transparency and it also has relevant impact on the efficiency of the deliverables, meaning that the procedures of the relevant agencies are going to be more efficient; the cooperation in the different agencies are going to be much more efficient. So, it is not only going to benefit the private sector but also the cross border regulatory agencies. The third component is the predictability; meaning for the trade it will be easier to work with government because we will expect to have services within a certain time and we will deliver those services in a more efficient manner and all those activities of the government branches will be more predictable.”


Therese Martinez

Therese Martinez, Head of Strategic Policy & Trade Unit, Customs Department

“It will improve the works of the customs in terms of facilitating the release and clearance of goods. It will certain provide benefit to the traders because in terms of their submission of documents before, these documents would have had to be presented to individual agencies for approval. In the Single Window system, as it says, it is one submission which says that the trader can only submit once. It saves time; logistical costs and all that for the trader. For us as Customs, it improves our administration; our facilitation and the release and clearance of goods. So, certainly, it has benefits for both the customs and traders, and economically, yes, it improves our status.”


Some of the next steps, according to the Customs Department, is to have all agencies compile the documents they use, and to review and re-engineer the business process. Following that, they are to prepare a road map and as well as the technical specifications for the implementation of the Single Window software.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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