A Window of Opportunity to Boost International Trade in Pakistan
Video | 24 June 2021
- ADB is supporting the development of the Pakistan Single Window, which automates and integrates government processes under a single digital platform to ease international trade.
- International trade will be faster, easier, and cheaper with the development of the Pakistan Single Window.
- The Pakistan Single Window will strengthen Pakistan’s integration and cooperation with its neighbors and allow the country to fulfill its commitment under the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The Pakistan Single Window System (PSW) is a transformational trade facilitation initiative that will help reduce time, cost, and complications of moving goods across Pakistan’s borders while ensuring better compliance with cross-border trade regulations. Set under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, PSW will significantly enhance Pakistan’s trade competitiveness.
Under its Trade and Competitiveness Program, ADB is facilitating institutional and legal changes relevant for PSW. ADB also provided technical assistance to design and implement a Risk Management System that is important for reducing cargo clearance time.
Pakistan is strategically located to become a hub for international transit and trade.
While it has invested heavily in seaports, motorways, and other physical infrastructure, it lacks a comprehensive regulatory system to speed up the flow of goods into and out of the country.
Pakistan Customs’ automated system WeBOC clears 95% of international exports and imports electronically.
But traders must still comply with non-customs regulations set by various government agencies that mostly use paper-based systems.
Ablan Ari Shinwari
Saad AbdurRehman Clearing Agency
"I have been an exporter myself for almost 20 years. I have been exporting oranges and potatoes to Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. The institutions we have like Customs have given us the facility of WeBOC with which we are satisfied. Since our exports here are of fresh fruit and vegetables, inspections can take weeks due to bank and plant quarantine departments. So by the time we take our goods they are quite spoilt.”
A new digital platform will transform this trading landscape.
The Pakistan Single Window will automate and integrate cross-border trade-related procedures of Customs and other government agencies
Making trade faster, easier, and cheaper.
Through the Pakistan Single Window, traders will be able to submit customs declarations, permits, and other information required by several government agencies through a single, digital portal.
Complete and updated fiscal, regulatory, and statistical information will be readily available.
Obtaining permits to move goods will be quicker, without the need of physical visits to agencies.
Mian Hammad Azhar
Federal Energy Minister (formerly Federal Finance Minister)
Government of Pakistan
“Cross border trade and international trade has traditionally been fraught with huge volumes of paperwork and red tape and delays which lead to huge costs and that is a significant barrier for trade. What this program seeks to do is it seeks to integrate 74 government divisions and government departments on a single digital platform, thereby reducing costs, thereby reducing delays, and providing ease of international trade. I’m very grateful for the technical and financial support from especially the Asian Development Bank, the USAID and the IFC who are providing us with the technical expertise and the funds to roll out this project.”
The new system will reduce delays and difficulties in processing cargo, which clog ports and add costs.
This digital system will bring Pakistan in line with other countries that are successfully using national single windows to facilitate trade.
It will strengthen Pakistan’s integration and cooperation with its neighbors and allow the country to fulfill its commitment under the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.
While boosting the local IT industry and help small enterprises realize their e-commerce potential.
“With the paradigm shift in Pakistan’s population to almost 50% female, more and more women are entering the workforce as well as business. And Pakistan Single Window offers an encouraging climate of inclusion and ease of doing business being an online portal. So it is expected that more women can benefit and enter into trade of goods and services.”
The Pakistan Single Window is a step closer to a more digital Pakistan that will help the country achieve faster, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth.