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"The WINDOW" OF NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
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From February 1, 2020, the procedure will be introduced for processing permits and certificates required for export-import operations through the Single Window customs information system.

This is established by the President’s decree “On measures to further improve the business environment and improve the system of supporting entrepreneurship in the country” (No. PD-4525 of November 20, 2019).

What is this system like? At what stage is the work on its implementation? How will the “Single Window” system, created as one of the effective cost-cutting mechanisms for participants in foreign economic activity, function? - This is explained by the head of the Department of customs examination and maintaining the commodity nomenclature of foreign economic activity of the State Customs Committee Bakhtier Abduganiev.

 

The need to accelerate and optimize the electronic interaction of foreign economic activity participants and regulatory bodies by introducing the “Single Window” CIS is stipulated by the President’s decree “On measures to further improve administrative procedures in the implementation of foreign economic activity” (PD-4297 of  23 April, 2019). The system meets the criteria of Recommendations and guidelines for the creation of a Single Window mechanism developed by the UN Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business operations. The mentioned criteria imply the exclusion of paper documents from the customs clearance process, including permissive documents required for this procedure.

Work on the creation of the portal has been ongoing since May this year, according to an action plan approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and developed by the State Customs Committee together with the Ministry of Health, the State Committee for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry Development, the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, the “Uzstandart” Agency and the “State carantine” Inspection.

Since December 1, “Single Window” has been launched in test mode (http://singlewindow.uz). Currently, over 220 participants are registered and 29 are active users. Of the regulatory authorities, it should be noted the veterinary service, which posted the bulk of the necessary information, its module as a whole is ready to work in the Single Window.

 

How CIS will accelerate the passage of control procedures by participants of foreign economic activity, minimize their time and financial costs?

- “Single Window” will allow business entities to submit standardized information and documents using a single access channel to fulfill all regulatory requirements related to import, export and transit. There will be completely no need to “upholster the thresholds” of ministries and departments before obtaining the desired permission. In the recent past, this process has been lengthy and multi-stage.

In addition, СIS provides FEA participants with the opportunity to:

  • exchange all available information regarding foreign trade transactions, which is supported by a regulatory framework that ensures the confidentiality and security of such an exchange;
  • remotely monitor the stages of issuing permits by the customs service, authorized bodies, as well as business entities themselves;
  • receive permits before the actual arrival of goods into the republic on the basis of preliminary information.

Through the Single Window, a complete transition is being made to maintaining publicly accessible registries of permits in electronic format, maintaining up-to-date open data on the epizootic, quarantine and phytosanitary situation in Uzbekistan and foreign countries. These are very useful components of the system for traders.

And what is this system?

- “Single Window” is a management philosophy within which the traditional structures of the Government are transformed into new mechanisms that optimally meet the needs of citizens and business entities. The main goal of the introduction and development of СIS is to create a single interface for the exchange of information between authorized bodies and participants of foreign economic activity on the basis of an integrated information system and relevant databases that allow participants in foreign trade operations to receive government services on the basis of the One-StopService principle (receiving services in one place). Integrated interdepartmental organizational mechanisms for their provision will be transparent to consumers of services, which will contribute to increased efficiency and lower operational costs for regulation.

Structurally CIS consists of 2 blocks.

The first one, located in the top ribbon, contains 6 headings: submitting an application, about the portal, background information, questions and suggestions, authentication of issued certificates, risk analysis system.

The second block - the basis of the site is formed by the following sections: reference information on non-tariff measures, interactive services of regulatory authorities, their risk analysis and management systems, registration of customs cargo declaration, a list of logistics companies, registers of customs and other authorities.

The CIS structure will be improved taking into account proposals and wishes. We are waiting for them not only from government agencies, but above all from participants of FEA. For example, the first block on the recommendation of “Uzgoskarantin” was recently supplemented with the heading "Authentication of issued certificates." The reason was the situation when 2-3 years ago several blanks of permits were lost in a unit of one of the regulatory bodies.

Any potential importer / exporter planning to import / export goods in the future, to determine their capabilities, can get through the "Single Window" a generalized representation of various import / export requirements

So, any business entity, especially located far beyond the borders of our country, not being its resident, can get the information he needs online. Please specify what information is this?

– One of the requirements for goods for customs clearance is the presence of certificates / permits established by law, which give the right to import / export goods or use them in the republic. A foreign economic activity participant can enter a request for a product of interest under the heading “Reference information on non-tariff measures” and receive information on the necessary permits and their forms, the cost of services for their issuance, details of certification and other authorities issuing permits.

Without the CN codes, it is impossible to determine whether a product is subject to control by a specific authority. You can find them in the section of the same name.

When importing products of animal, vegetable and other origin to the domestic market of our country, the customs authorities apply a risk analysis system. Such systems, taking into account the specifics of activities, are being introduced by other authorized bodies too. In the rubric “Risk analysis system of regulatory bodies”, a list of controlled goods by risk will be regularly posted, information on violations of established requirements and measures to prevent the import of low-quality goods in the republic.

The heading "Interactive services of regulatory authorities" includes a wide range of services initiated by the user and provided by both the customs authorities and the authorities issuing permits in real time (for example, viewing web pages, Internet paging, searching databases, etc. .).

The registers of customs warehouses, authorized economic operators, dietary supplements registered in the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the Customs Register of Intellectual Property and the State Register of Medicines can be found in the corresponding section.

The section “Clearance of Customs Cargo Declarations” contains a list of all brokerage companies and access to software for registration of CCD. And under the heading “Logistic companies” there is a list of companies providing import and export support services, indicating their details.

Also in the CIS, a business entity can familiarize itself with the legislation relating to foreign trade activities and the current rates of customs duties, VAT and excise taxes, duties and other payments.

 

One of the main issues that concern participants of foreign economic activity is how to apply for a permit document?

–Electronic customs clearance of goods, requiring electronic interaction of a participant in foreign economic activity and a responsible employee of the issuing authority, takes place in several stages.

1 step. A participant in foreign economic activity contacts the Single Window through the CIS official domain. The entry must be authorized through a personal digital signature.

2 step. A foreign economic activity participant sumbits a single unified document “A” into the CIS, based on shipping documents — a contract, an invoice, etc. The entered document should reflect the full information for the issuance of the permit document (recipient, sender, goods, etc.). You must submit a scanned version of these documents. In the future, they will be used to register CCD.

Step 3: In an automated mode, a request is generated and sent to a government agency from the personal account of a foreign economic activity participant in the CIS, in which the following should be submitted:

  • a list of necessary permits for each product according to the CN code - 10 characters;
  • complete information on obtaining permission to import into the Republic of Uzbekistan / export from the Republic of Uzbekistan (type of document, authorized body, term of registration, cost of services, reason, etc.);

Step 4. A foreign economic activity participant forms an application for a permit and sends it to the “Single Window”. Part of this document is filled in automatically by the system using data on previously submitted information in document “A”. The rest is filled in by participant of foreign economic activity. To simplify the procedure, the system offers a list of authorized bodies responsible for issuing an import permit, indicating the location of the state agency, its email address, information about responsible person, the deadline and the cost of services.

5 step. From the block of the participant of foreign economic activity, the system submits an application to the structural unit of the state body. At this stage, the date and time of sending, the application number, TIN and EDS of the applicant are recorded.

6 step. The application for clearance is accepted by the state agency. At the same time, the date and time of receiving the ID in the Single Window database, the code of the authorized body and the EDS of its responsible employee are recorded.

7 step. The implementer - the structural unit of the state body considers and draws up a permit document. When issuing a permit, the identification number, date and time of approval, the code of the authorized body and the EDS of the responsible employee are recorded.

Step 8. The participant of foreign trade activities accepts a permit document through the CIS with fixing the date and time of sending, application number, EDS of the responsible employee.

CIS forms the entire database of permits issued by government agencies. You can find a specific document through a search engine using a QR code or by the number of an authorization document.

The system also keeps track of the time of all actions taken by both a participant in foreign economic activity and a representative of a government agency. The rating of the services provided will allow assessing the activities of state bodies in terms of time costs.

You have explained in detail the procedure for obtaining permission. And what should a foreign economic activity participant do next? Does he need to submit a permit to the customs authority?

– No paper or electronic versions of permits should be submitted. The system had already recorded that permission was received. When filling out the customs declaration in column 44, information about each document must be indicated: its serial number and letter code according to the Classifier of the types of documents and information, used when filling out the cargo customs declaration (appendix #12 of the Instruction  registered by Ministry of justice#2773-4,) .You also need to reflect the registration number and date of issuance of permits, conclusions and other documents (certificates,  etc.) issued by authorized bodies (each body has its own unique alphanumeric designation) in cases stipulated by the legal acts.

Based on this information, the customs authority will conduct a reconciliation with the TIS to make sure that this data is available in the Single Window.

Why is the information system called “customs”?

– Because the functional task of “Single Window” is the solution of the whole range of issues for the full implementation of the customs clearance procedure.

In recent years, the customs service has developed a number of automated systems to simplify trade procedures and ensure efficiency in solving its functional tasks of collecting revenue, economic protection of state interests, as well as collecting, processing and analyzing business information on foreign trade activities.

The consistent development of information technology has made it possible to achieve significant improvements in the provision of services. Each new development brought with it new opportunities that contributed to the transformational changes in the regulatory framework related to international trade.

Given the experience of the department in the IT field, as well as the capabilities of its servers, the availability of autonomous power sources for their work, the State Customs Committee was entrusted with administrative functions. The terms of reference for the creation of CIS were developed, its platform was formed. The interface will be improved and supplemented as necessary by elements that contribute to the effective functioning of the Single Window.

- Are employees of regulatory bodies and their territorial divisions responsible for the operation of local Single Window instruments ready to work in CIS?

–Today, work on the implementation of the Single Window as part of a systemic reform of the activities of government agencies involved in CIS is in full swing. In order to achieve the expected effect, appropriate training of those responsible for its functioning is necessary. Therefore, before introducing the mandatory use of the Single Window on February 1, 2020, provided for by resolution PD-4525, the SCC conducts regular trainings in the field. They are organized by the SCC in cooperation with government agencies for representatives of their regional divisions, territorial departments of the SCC and business entities.

Despite holding videoconferences and seminars in the late evening (this is not possible during working hours), discussions are always active, participants take the opportunity to ask questions, because they have to switch to a new format of work and adaptation to new realities requires maximum concentration.

The functioning of the CIS in test mode allows you to conduct training, clearly demonstrating the actions of the responsible persons and participants of foreign economic activity in the format of "Single Window". We plan to begin testing CIS on a voluntary basis from January 1 for the development of practical skills.

You can make changes to the application or permit only before clicking the "Approve" button. Therefore, the stages preceding this process, we pay close attention at the seminars. We explain every moment in detail.

The State Customs Committee actively communicates with business, the Ministry of Health, state committees of veterinary medicine and ecology and environmental protection, Uzstandard and Uzgoskarantin, their territorial divisions and regional customs departments. This is necessary in order to understand whether there are gaps in the system, how to fill them in, and what can be improved to make the use of Single Window as comfortable as possible for users.

Its implementation is a complex task that requires changes, rather than at the program and technical level, but at the level of the approaches to the interaction of foreign economic activity participants with government agencies. It is necessary to break the long-existing ideology of providing information to government agencies and redirect information flows to the Single Window. This tool is not only for government agencies, but primarily for entrepreneurs. Therefore, the entrepreneurial community needs to actively engage in the discussion. Indeed, for participants of foreign economic activity, CIS is a window of opportunity accelerating the development of their foreign trade activities.

 

Interviewed Gulnora ABDUNAZAROVA, our special correspondent.

4.01.2020

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