SW – General
As IPCSA, we promote the use of international standards – including definitions for Single Window. A number of international organisations and bodies have defined Single Windows, sometimes with regards to their area of interest and activity. IPCSA has used the information publicly available from these sources to provide information on these concepts and has credited/referenced the relevant organisations either through links to their websites or in a direct reference.
Ideal concept of one National Single Window
Single Windows are platforms that are Government mandated and allow for the submission of information to fulfil regulatory requirements between economic operators and Government authorities. A Single Window is a single-entry point for data, and data should only be submitted once.
In an ideal conception and design, there would be only one National Single Window – for trade purposes – to conform to the definition of a Single Window being the single-entry point. The reality, however, looks different.
Co-existence of Single Windows in national economies
Existing Single Windows often only support a specific part of all import, export and transit relevant formalities. In fact, several Single Windows, each serving different regulatory functions, often co-exist. Terminologies such as Customs Single Window, Logistics Single Window or Port Community System imply a specific functional coverage of a Single Window either from an agency perspective or, if referred to as Single Window for maritime carriers or importers and exporters, from a user perspective.
Despite the co-existence of Single Windows that has emerged in many countries, the regulator should ensure that economic operators only have to communicate with one Single Window according to their operational role such as a maritime carrier or importer.
National and Regional Single Windows
A Single Window is referred to as a National Single Window if the services are limited to nationwide procedures and authorities. The exchange of data takes place within the national internet domain.
A Regional Single Window can refer to either an exchange of data between National Single Window systems that provide functionalities related to regional regulatory procedures, or the replacement of a National Single Window by a Regional Single Window.
ASEAN was the first regional economic community to conceptualise a Regional Single Window project. Others have followed: The EU-wide Single Window initiative of the Directorate-General Taxation, the EU Maritime Single Window of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport and the Eurasian Economic Community Single Window initiative.
For further information please visit;
Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide (the above information has used a majority of the TFIG summary to ensure that concepts shared are harmonised)
- Rec 33 – Single Window Recommendation
- Rec 34 – Data Simplification and Standardization for International Trade
- Rec 35 – Establishing a legal framework for international trade Single Window
- Rec 36 – Single Window Interoperability
- Rec 37 – Single Submission Portals (SSPs)
International Port Community Systems Association – Definitions (for IPCSA membership purposes)
A Single Window Operator is:
- The organisation that has the legal responsibility for implementation and operation of a Single Window within a country or region and which operates the Single Window within that remit, whereby the Single Window allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents.
Note: A number of international organisations and bodies have defined Single Window, sometimes with regards to their area of interest and activity. IPCSA has used the information publicly available from these sources to provide information on these concepts and has credited/referenced the relevant organisations either through links to their websites or in a direct reference.