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Single Window for Iraq

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Beirut, Lebanon
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The concept of trade facilitation single window includes the complete trade, transport and logistics community so that, ultimately, all border crossings and all forms of cargo shipment are included in the single window system for the electronic exchange of all key public sector and private sector trade documents, licenses, permits and payments all through a single central access point, although there are several alternative technology designs.

Implementation of single window system is not an easy task though due to the fact that various agencies are involved in the process of clearing goods and regulation of trade flows. Thus, many types of single windows have emerged in recent years each of which has different functions and players.

Nevertheless, the system of single window has been recognized and acknowledged as a central piece of trade facilitation and efficiency. This is illustrated by the inclusion of the single window as a requirement in various international conventions for trade facilitation most notably the WTO trade facilitation agreement adopted in 2015.

Iraq will greatly benefit from single window system implementation. Iraq’s performance on various international indicators measuring the ease of doing business and trade is very modest. The country ranks 153 out of 160 countries in the 2016 Logistics Performance Index, a major global indicator of efficiency of logistics, with a noticeable modest performance of the customs sub indicator.

Similarly, Iraq still maintains one of the highest number of documents requirements for imports and exports and scores very modestly in the time required to clear a shipment through customs. It ranks 179 in the World Bank trading across boarder indicator in 2016 with high cost and time needed for exports and imports document compliance.

It is therefore imperative that Iraq takes some correction measures to fix such deficiencies and lower the barriers to trade that hurt the national economy and all economic players.