US plans single Customs window for imports and exports

Posted by Chris Houghton

The trade association that represents the UK freight forwarding and logistics industry has welcomed plans revealed in the USA that are aimed at streamlining processes for imports & exports for the country’s businesses that trade internationally.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) said that it welcomes the Executive Order signed by President Obama last week, as it does with any initiative that appears to be aimed at promoting global trade and greater efficiencies within supply chains.

Specifically, the Executive Order is aimed at completing the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016, which is designed to reduce processing and approval times from days to minutes for small businesses imports & exports.

Today, as in many countries worldwide, businesses must submit information to dozens of government agencies, often on paper forms, sometimes waiting on them to be processed for days, before goods can move across the border.
BIFA understands that the ITDS is designed to allow businesses to transmit electronically, through a “single-window, the data required by the US Government for imports & exports of cargo, speed up the shipment of American-made goods overseas, eliminate often duplicative and burdensome paperwork, and make the administration of international trade more efficient.

Peter Quantrill, Director General of BIFA said: “Although the development of the ITDS has been underway for some time, the recent Executive Order establishes a deadline for completion, requires relevant agencies to transition from paper-based to electronic data collection, and calls for enhanced transparency by requiring public posting of implementation plans and schedules.

“The timing is apt in light of USA-EU free trade talks and it will be interesting to see if the announcement adds some impetus to various European Union initiatives such as the Cassandra Project, which addresses the visibility needs of both business and government in the international flow of containerised cargo by developing a data sharing concept that allows an extended assessment of risks by both business and government.”