FBR, USAID to jointly streamline customs, trade procedures

ISLAMABAD, Aug 21 (APP):The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and US 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, a FBR statement issued here said on Wednesday.

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 statement said.

The statement said that the Pakistan Single Window was therefore one of the most important reforms needed to improve Pakistan’s trade competitiveness, and ultimately stimulate economic growth and prosperity.

The workshop 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.

Speaking on the occasion, Member Customs, Jawwad Owais Agha said that Pakistan Single Window was the most significant cross border trade facilitation initiative to have been undertaken by the government.

“In order to successfully implement this program, Pakistan Customs has not only deployed capable resources but has also allocated part of the Goods Declaration fee fund to fast track the in-house development and early deployment of the PSW.

He expressed the hope that with continued support from participating government departments and development partners, Pakistan Customs would be able to implement this program in time.
The PSW will provide an electronic platform for the provision of services to traders, the statement said adding that it would bring together all the stakeholders on one single platform that would further improve the process of cross-border trade, enabling businesses to expand their operations and effectively reduce the clearance time.

On the occasion, USAID’s Acting Director for Office of Economic Growth and Agriculture Malick Haidara said, that the workshop was 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.

PREIA 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, the statement added.

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