Singapore, US customs to explore 'single window' trade data connectivity

Singapore is the US's 17th largest trading partner and second-largest Asean trading partner. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The customs of Singapore and the US have tied up to explore the exchange and reuse of trade data via a system link-up between both countries' trade platforms.

These trade platforms are Singapore's Networked Trade Platform and the US Automated Commercial Environment.

The Singapore Customs and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) signed a letter of intent (LOI) on Tuesday (Nov 10) to explore "single window" connectivity to facilitate cargo clearance and enhance supply chain security.

Single windows are electronic systems that automate and expedite the processing of import and export data by allowing traders to input standardised information in a single entry point to fulfil all import and export requirements.

This reduces cost, enhances accountability and improves collaboration among government agencies and the trade community, the CBP said on Tuesday.

Exchanging trade data would facilitate customs declarations by the business community and allow both customs administrations to better conduct advance risk assessments, the Singapore Customs said in a separate press statement on Wednesday.

Under the initiative, both parties will start to explore the interoperability of their national single window systems through data mapping and sharing of technical competencies. A pilot trial may be carried out between both countries, the results of which will be used to refine the system linkage, the Singapore Customs said.

Singapore Customs deputy director-general Lim Teck Leong said: "The signing of this LOI signifies the first step towards trade data connectivity between the two customs administrations, and reinforces our commitment to maintain the security of international supply chains, while facilitating legitimate trade."

Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner of CBP's Office of Trade, said: "Government-to-government data sharing is rapidly becoming an important component of efficient and secure trade, and CBP looks forward to working with Singapore Customs on this forward-thinking approach to trade facilitation."

Two-way trade in goods between the US and Singapore totalled US$57.6 billion (S$77.7 million) in 2019, making Singapore the US's 17th largest trading partner and second-largest Asean trading partner.

The US and Singapore negotiated a free trade agreement in 2004, followed by the Authorized Economic Operator-Mutual Recognition Agreement and the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement concluded by both CBP and Singapore Customs in 2014.

The Singapore Customs is also working on bilateral single window connectivity initiatives with its counterparts in Australia, China, Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.