Government of Pakistan and USAID Partner to Streamline Customs and Trade Procedures
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA), jointly organized a one-day Stakeholders’ workshop on Pakistan Single Window (PSW) for managing Pakistan’s external trade at a local hotel in Islamabad. The objective of the workshop was to encourage stakeholders’ participation and collaboration in making trade related processes more efficient, effective and transparent in line with globally accepted best practices under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
Single window is a key trade facilitation tool that helps countries improve efficiencies in the area of custom clearance, increase the speed at which goods can move, and reduce the overall cost of trade. The Pakistan Single Window is therefore one of the most important reforms needed to improve Pakistan’s trade competitiveness, and ultimately stimulate economic growth and prosperity.
The conference brought together more than 70 participants from the public and private sector including government officials from key trade regulators, members of various chambers of commerce, trade bodies and business associations, and representatives of the international donor community collaborating with FBR on various aspects of the PSW.
While speaking at the event, the Member Customs Mr. Jawwad Owais Agha said, “Pakistan Single Window is the most significant cross border trade facilitation initiative to have been undertaken by the Government of Pakistan.” He added, “In order to successfully implement this program, Pakistan Customs has not only deployed capable resources but has also allocated part of the GD fee fund to fast track the in-house development and early deployment of the PSW. We hope that with continued support from participating government departments and development partners, Pakistan Customs will be able to implement this program in time.”
The Pakistan Single Window will provide an electronic platform for the provision of services to traders. It is hoped that introduction of PSW will bring together all the stakeholders on one single platform that will further improve the process of cross-border trade, enabling businesses to expand their operations and effectively reduce the clearance time.
While delivering remarks at the conference, USAID’s Acting Director for Office of Economic Growth and Agriculture Mr. Malick Haidara said, “Today’s workshop is a continuation of our collaborative efforts with Pakistan Customs and FBR to enhance the understanding and capacity of the stakeholders to manage the complex reforms resulting from PSW implementation.”
Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA), US AID is providing active technical assistance to the PSW initiative since its inception in order to ensure the development and early deployment of the PSW system. Implementation of the PSW is one of the many activities that USAID supports in Pakistan to contribute towards economic growth of the country and is indicative of the United States Government’s commitment to support Pakistan’s economy by fostering a business friendly environment and expanding trade opportunities. In the end, FBR thanked all development partners especially (PREIA), US AID for their active support to PSW.