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Consultation on development of Trade Single Window in Hong Kong

     The Government today (April 13) issued a consultation paper to seek views on the development of a Trade Single Window (SW) in Hong Kong and related matters.

     At present, 51 business-to-government (B2G) trade documents are submitted to the Government for meeting regulatory requirements relating to the trading of goods into, out of and through Hong Kong. Notwithstanding various initiatives introduced over the years to ease the burden on the trading community and to speed up customs clearance, over half of these documents are still being processed by conventional paper means. The trading community also has to deal with various government departments separately at different points of time. This fragmented approach is not conducive to the efficient processing of incoming and outgoing goods.

     A Government spokesperson said, "As announced by the Financial Secretary in his 2016-17 Budget Speech, we plan to set up an SW as a single information technology (IT) platform for the one-stop lodging of all 51 B2G documents for all trade declaration and customs clearance purposes. This will be an important initiative for maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness in trade in goods and position as a logistics hub."

     The SW will bring about time and cost savings for the trading community, as they no longer need to approach different government departments separately and can lodge B2G trade documents electronically round the clock through a centralised IT platform. Traders can also keep track of the status of their applications and submissions via the SW platform 24/7.

     Subject to conclusion of bilateral agreements in future, the SW will facilitate cross-border customs co-operation with other economies and connectivity with their SWs, and thus expedite the cargo clearance process and enhance trade efficiency.

     To align with international mainstream and best customs practices, the Government would also like to take the opportunity to consider the feasibility and possible benefits of switching Hong Kong's trade documentation requirement from post-shipment to pre-shipment. With the availability of pre-shipment information, the Customs and Excise Department will be able to carry out more effective risk-profiling and hence more targeted enforcement work. This would translate into smoother and seamless cargo clearance for traders.

     The three-month public consultation exercise is now under way until July 12, 2016. Views may be sent on or before July 12 by email to sw@cedb.gov.hk, fax to 3108 3537, or post to Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, 23/F, West Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong.

     The consultation document is available on the websites of the Commerce, Industry and Tourism Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (www.cedb.gov.hk/citb) and the Customs and Excise Department (www.customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 09:19



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