Myanmar plans to introduce a National Single Window (NSW) by 2016 to meet the requirements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) initiative – ASEAN Single Window (ASW).
The ASW aims to integrate the NSWs from member states throughout Southeast Asia to expedite cargo and foster economic integration in the region.
By allowing Myanmar to join the regional network, the NSW will help local traders secure papers, permits and clearances required to ship cargo across national borders in one place, while the current trade procedures require traders to deal with the Ministry of Commerce, Customs Department and banks.
Deputy Director General of Customs Department Daw Yadanar said despite skills shortages the government still plans to install the electronic customs systems within two years.
The National Single Window will work in parallel with the country’s newly proposed automated cargo clearance system – Myanmar Automatic Cargo Clearance System (MACCS).
Myanmar International Freight Forwarders Association secretary Daw Hla Hla Ye said Myanmar’s trade deals will be more cost effective under the National Single Window’s reduced restrictions.
“When the NSW is online, foreign goods will be able to enter unrestricted and more quickly than ever into the country,” she said.
However, Daw Hla Hla Ye warned Myanmar’s local market could face an excess of imports with the reduced trade restrictions.
The government has planned to implement the National Single Window with Japanese technicians since early 2013. Myanmar officials want the system to be online before the country’s integration into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), scheduled for 2018.
Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchant Association consultant U Soe Win Maung said Myanmar can’t rely on the National Single Window to increase national productivity.
“Exporters need to focus their efforts on improving their own businesses to increase exports. Reducing restrictions alone won’t increase international trade relations,” he said.
Testing for the National Single Window will begin in 2015.
So far, Singapore is the only country within ASEAN to implement a national window despite the regional body’s expectations for widespread instalments by 2012.