The International Customs Day is a promising occasion for World Customs Community as it provides an opportunity to customs to exhibit its accomplishments in the field of trade facilitation, revenue generation, enforcement and compliance.

To commemorate International Customs Day, every year WCO Secretariat dedicates a theme that is apropos to the challenges faced by global Customs community. The motto chosen for the year 2020 is “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet.”

With the passage of time, the role of Customs has been largely diversified due to increasing globalization trends and exponential growth in international trade. Customs, now, has not been limited to revenue collection but is playing its part with other stakeholders to foster sustainability for secure societies, public health and green environment.

Moreover, Pakistan has ratified the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation in 2015, and has committed to the establishment of a trade related National Single Window (NSW) as a ‘Category C’ commitment, with an implementation timeline of five years, with effect from 22nd February, 2017.

The Prime Minister’s Office designated Pakistan Customs in FBR as the Lead Agency in October, 2017, for implementation of an ICT based trade related NSW. Currently, Customs Wing in the FBR, through a dedicated Program Management Office (PMO), is working to establish Pakistan Single Window (PSW).

In order to establish a separate autonomous body to simplify cross border trade processes, reduced cost of doing business and trade facilitation on national and international level; Pakistan Customs has prepared the draft Pakistan Single Window Act, 2019.

National Single Window (NSW) is a platform that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents using a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements.

In order to improve the governance of their cross-border trade regimes, other economies are increasingly relying on trade related single window systems. Due to changed international practices related to import and export of goods with added emphasis on facilitation of legitimate trade, and protection of government revenue, environment and security concerns, the use of ICT (International and Communication Technology) is the only way forward for Pakistan Customs.

In the context of growing cross-border e-commerce, the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and related tools, Pakistan Customs is also exploring opportunities for implementing a Single Window environment and electronic-services, as well as making it interoperable with Single Windows of partner countries for the exchange of information including e-country of origin (COO) and e-phytosanitary certificates.

Pakistan Customs’ active participation in international collaborative initiatives, particularly in serving the people by building safe and secure societies, ensuring prosperity by reducing trade barriers and ensuring the sustainability of planet Earth for future generations, has also contributed towards the accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, it gives me an immense pleasure that due to a concerted improvement in business regulation, Pakistan climbed 28 places and rose to a rank of 108 in the global ease of Doing Business rankings this year, 2019 from 136 the previous year 2018. Finally on the occasion of International Customs Day, 2020, I wish Pakistan Customs the best for its present and future endeavors, to foster sustainability while enabling targeted interventions against illicit trade activities. I hope that all officers and officials of Pakistan Customs shall continue to work for sustainable future.

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