In simple terms, the UK single trade window will be a digital system, to be used by traders, to submit customs information to the UK government. Everyone who imports goods into and/or exports goods out of the UK will be impacted by the implementation of the Single Trade Window.
Single trade windows already exist in other parts of the world including Singapore, Sweden, the USA, and New Zealand and work effectively.
Why is it needed?
Following Brexit, the UK regained the right and the responsibility for managing and controlling its borders. This of course comes with its challenges, and a need for a system which can support effective import and export in and out of the UK has been called for by those involved in international trade and those managing our borders.
How will it work?
The concept is straightforward with the aim to tackle issues that currently impede international trade with the UK, such as the need to duplicate paperwork, confusion as to exactly what documentation is required, and a lack of standardisation across different systems and agencies.
According to Gov.uk, “Our mission is to build a world-leading system which makes the lives of traders easier, reducing friction and costs, underpinned by robust and seamless data sharing, whilst protecting our borders.”
The UK government are reportedly investing £180 million into this digital service, with the overarching aim to create ‘the most effective border in the world’.
In practical terms, this means technology will be used to create and manage one government system, from which it will be possible for data to be shared across agencies such as HMRC, DEFRA and the Home Office. This will mean just one set of paperwork is required and traders will not need to provide the same information repeatedly in a different format for each relevant agency.
This new process should speed up trade processing, reduce the end-to-end costs of trade, and improve stability and predictability. And, with the current need to support business, trade, and the economy, particularly considering the war in Ukraine and the current economic challenge, the government is looking to speed up the implementation of the single trade window to 2025.
The main advantages of a UK Single Trade Window for traders will almost certainly be a reduction in the red tape and bureaucracy thereby reducing the barriers to international trade. This will encourage countries to trade with the UK and should provide a welcome boost to international trade and in turn, the economy.