• English

UNECE supports steps towards Single Window system in Iraq, helping to unlock trade potential

Cumbersome, costly and time-consuming customs procedures can be a major barrier to international trade, holding back countries’ development potential.

In Iraq, this remains a significant challenge. The country requires among the highest number of documents worldwide for imports and exports, and in 2016 ranked 179 of 190 economies in the World Bank trading across borders indicator.

Taking action to address these barriers is therefore an important step in boosting trade.

One solution is the implementation of a Single Window system, which simplifies import and export procedures by making it easier to input all regulatory and commercial information at a single electronic point. This reduces bureaucracy and makes it easier for businesses to engage in international trade transactions.

To assist Iraq in this process, UNECE joined forces with United Nations Economic and Social Commission in Western Asia (ESCWA) this week for a training session on Single Window for international trade for a range of public and private sector actors.

This provided a chance for a dozen different agencies, including the Port Authority, Customs, Tax Administration, Ministry of Transport, the National Banks and the National Committee for Trade and Transport, to come together to support the streamlining and digitization of procedures and processes.

This enabled stakeholders to learn about the benefits of practical tools such as the Itinerary on how to build a Single Window and the establishment of a Trade Facilitation Road Map – both features of the comprehensive Trade Facilitate Implementation Guide proposed by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), hosted by UNECE.

It was also a chance to gain knowledge on specific standards proposed through UN/CEFACT, including Recommendation 33 on Implementation of Single Window and Recommendation 1 on the UN Layout Key, as well as the advantages of electronic standards such as UN/EDIFACT and UN/LOCODE.

UN/CEFACT Experts from the Moroccan PortNet system and the Tunisian Trade-Net system presented two notable success stories from the region whose development have been supported by UNECE. These best practices that could inspire the future work of Iraq.

Several new laws have already been implemented in Iraq in order to provide the necessary legal framework. The political will seems to be in place. The Iraqi team will now be putting together their concept plan and setting out the goals and activities for their next steps.

UNECE and UN/CEFACT stand ready to support ESCWA for the development of a Single Window system in Iraq, bringing its tools, networks and expertise to assist in its implementation.

For more information on the training session, please visit: https://www.unescwa.org/events/single-window-iraq.