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Global Trade Facilitation Conference 2011

The “Global Trade Facilitation Conference on Single Window and Supply Chains in the next decade” took place on 12 and 13 December 2011 in Geneva. Organized by the five UN regional commissions (UNECA, UNECE, UNECLAC, UNESCAP, UNESCWA), it was part of a new interregional initiative, the "Joint UN Regional Commissions’ Approach on Trade Facilitation". It was attended by over 200 representatives from government, the business community and international organizations.

According to delegates attending the conference, Single Window implementation has been a real success story across the world and now makes an important contribution to facilitating international trade and increasing competitiveness. Single Window facilities in many countries are already providing the business community with a streamlined process for submitting their export and import information to customs and other government agencies. As a result, clearance times and trade transaction costs have been drastically reduced. To share country experiences in this area, the regional commissions were asked to create a central repository for Single Window case stories from across the globe.

The conference requested the United Nations regional commissions to prepare a roadmap for enhanced Single Windows and information exchange in global supply chains . The roadmap will outline options for further developing Single Window facilities and permitting greater collaboration between these facilities in a regional and global context. It will explore requirements for an integrated Single Window approach working across Trade, Maritime and Port Community Systems along the entire supply chain.

The roadmap will also explore the possibilities offered by new concepts and technologies such as “data pipelines” and cloud computing offer for smarter information exchange across global supply chains. It will be drawn up in close consultation with all key stakeholders and will be presented at next year’s joint UN regional commission conference on trade facilitation.

The conference was complemented by several side events on 14 and 15 December, including the UNNexT Workshop on Single Window Project Planning and Implementation, a seminar on Port Community Systems organized by the European Port Community System Association (EPCSA), and a Joint Forum by the Asia Europe Alliance for Paperless Trade (ASEAL) and the African Alliance for Electronic Commerce (AAEC).