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‘Single window’ system streamlines Chinese trade

Ahead of the two-day BRICS trade ministers meeting in Shanghai on Aug 2, China has proposed to establish an e-port network to promote trade businesses.

The so-called “single window” system is a key component of this network, which is designed to streamline trade and improve the business environment among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Working for a logistics company, Xu Jiajia sometimes handles up to 80 declarations a day. In the past, in order to get approvals from two government agencies, she had to prepare two sets of documents. But since 2014, her company has been using a new electronic processing system called “single window” to make things easier.

“The ‘single window’ combines two systems. Since some of the information required by the two departments is the same, we don’t need to submit them repeatedly as we did before. It saves labor and lowers the rate of mistakes, ” said Xu.

The “single window” system helps to simplify procedures, reduce foreign trade costs and improve the business environment.

“This is our customs declaration department. This department used to be the one with the longest working hours, and they needed to work overnight quite often, but now, they don’t need to stay late like that anymore. So, their work efficiency is very high,” said Yu Xiongwei, a manager at Technology Development Department, at Shanghai Origin International Logistics.

The new system not only saves when it comes to labor, but it speeds up the process.

Shanghai’s “single window” system now serves more than 200,000 companies every year, saving them more than two billion yuan. Analysts say the process should be expanded nationwide to deliver tangible results.

“Our vision for this network is showing here. When it’s established, it can improve the transparency of information to prevent information imbalance and trading fraud. It can also strengthen the government’s ability to supervise trade. It will enhance trade facilitation and efficiency, and upgrade the trading ability level, ” said Wei Xiaoming, Director of the Business Development Center at Shanghai E&P International.