Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » Laos drafts national single window plan for faster customs clearance

Laos has established the roadmap for the creation of a national single window (NSW) to speed up customs clearance and link the country to the ASEAN single window (ASW).

The roadmap was launched at a workshop attended by representatives from the government and the private sector in the capital city of Vientiane last week, said a statement from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations released 30 January.

“Lao PDR is committed to the success of the ASEAN Single Window initiative, which aims to increase trade and ease of doing business among ASEAN countries and with external partners outside the region,” said Vice Minister of Finance Santiphab Phomvihane, as he emphasized the importance of the NSW to the country’s economic development and the region’s integration.

Sundram Pushpanathan, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, added that while several ASEAN member-states have made progress in establishing their own NSWs, “it is just as critical to ensure that others who are now launching their NSW programs, like Lao PDR, are also taking steps to realize the advantages when the ASEAN Single Window comes online.”

The World Bank Doing Business Survey shows that a Lao trader takes 48 days on average to conclude an export transaction and 50 days to complete an import transaction, while the ASEAN average for both processes is 21 days.

Through an NSW, traders electronically submit forms for export, import, and transit procedures only once, and these are processed and cleared by multiple government agencies in an integrated manner, resulting in time and cost savings.

ASEAN member-states have agreed to establish their respective NSWs and link them to the ASW to further integrate the region’s economies and promote competitiveness. The ASEAN single window is a cornerstone of the ASEAN Economic Community to be launched by 2015.

The workshop was jointly conducted by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the ASEAN Secretariat, Lao Customs Department, and Ministry of Finance.

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