World Bank Assists Trade Facilitation Agencies Draft Single Window Vision for Fiji

Twenty-three (23) trade facilitation agencies have gathered to draft a workable Single Window vision customised for Fiji to ensure secure trade.

World Bank facilitators are currently conducting a Single Window workshop for these agencies organised by the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) at the Revenue and Customs Complex,  WCO Regional Training Centre in Nasese, Suva from 14th – 15th August, 2018.

While opening the workshop this morning, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (Revenue and Customs) Chief Executive Officer and Chair of NTFC, Mr. Visvanath Das said the Fijian Government has given a firm commitment to implement single window following the ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement on 22 February 2017, which aims to increase efficiency and effectiveness for trade facilitation agencies.

“Fiji’s position as the hub of the Pacific and the trade and economic development opportunities available through the global trade opportunities as well as regional trade agreements needs to be capitalized on,” Mr. Das said.

Mr. Das said the twenty-three agencies aspired to construct one single window clearance system for traders and global supply chain actors.  He emphasized that every journey begins with a single step and highlighted the importance of each agency taking ownership.

Present at the workshop, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade & Tourism, Mr. Shaheen Ali acknowledged the efforts of the Fijian business community, for working with the Government in achieving its objectives of improving Fiji’s overall trade performance and helping to establish Fiji as the modern hub of the Pacific, as set out in the 5-Year and 20-Year National Development Plan.

Mr. Ali said the creation of a Single Window system, for the coordinated submission and flow of import export documents, is one of the most effective ways of expediting the movement and clearance of goods and ultimately improving trade.

“Essentially, a Single Window can be described as a system that allows traders to lodge documentation to achieve entry, clearance, and release of their goods, from a single convenient location. A Single Window is intended to save time, eliminate redundancy, and lessen the administrative burden on the global trading community,” he said.

“In practice, the long-term objective is to transfer from a paper-based procedure to a single window electronic system. In order for the Single Window system to be effective, close cooperation and coordination between all departments and authorities involved are vital,” he added.

Mr Ali said in order to progress the work on single manifest, a Time Value Survey is currently being undertaken, which will determine the actual time and cost savings of moving from the current system to the single manifest.

“In addition, Revenue and Customs is piloting an electronic platform, which links all trade facilitation agencies to the ASYCUDA World. The agencies will be able to access manifests electronically and screen consignments for either clearance or further investigation,” he added.

The workshop concludes on Wednesday 15 August.


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