EU Single Window Environment for Customs (EU SWE-C)
- Topic: IT systems, databases
What is ‘single window’?
The ‘single window’ is a trade facilitation measure, allowing parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements, thus reducing duplication, time, and costs.
Why is EU Single Window Environment for Customs (EU SWE-C) required?
The formalities required at the EU’s external borders often involve many different authorities in charge of other policy areas, such as health and safety, environment protection, fisheries and agriculture, market surveillance and product compliance, and cultural heritage. Consequently, economic operators must submit information to several authorities, each with its own portal and procedures. This is burdensome and time consuming for economic operators and reduces the capacity of authorities to jointly act in preventing risks.
What actions have been undertaken so far?
In 2008, the Member States and the Commission committed to promoting an electronic customs environment in the EU by endeavouring to establish a framework of single window services. In 2016, Communication from the Commission on ‘Developing the EU Customs Union and its Governance’ announced the Commission’s plans to explore a workable solution for developing and creating an EU SWE-C.
In line with these priorities, the Commission launched a pilot project in 2015, the EU Customs Single Window-Common Veterinary Entry Document (EU CSW-CVED) to enable the automated verification of three non-customs health certificates by nine Member States’ customs administrations. Its successor, the EU Customs Single Window Certificates Exchange System (EU CSW-CERTEX), expanded the scope of regulatory requirements and introduced new functionalities.
How about the legislation?
The legislative proposal was announced in the new Customs Action Plan and the latter was published in September 2020 as part of President von der Leyen’s commitment to take the Customs Union to the next level. In 2022, the ordinary legislative procedure on the proposed regulation is ongoing.
It is worth noting that the development of the EU SWE-C rests on two pillars of digital administrative cooperation:
- The first includes government-to-government (G2G) digital cooperation between customs and partner competent authorities through the central component EU CSW-CERTEX to support the automated reception and verification by customs of the documents for goods clearance related to non-customs formalities;
- The second pillar, business-to-government (B2G) digital cooperation, aims at streamlining reporting formalities imposed on trade for the import, export, and transit of specific goods subject to non-customs regulatory formalities. Thus, reporting and procedural redundancies are avoided, and the realisation of the internationally recognised single window concept is enabled by providing economic operators with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.
Learn more in the 2021 e-customs annual progress report prepared by the European Commission.
- Market: EU - European Union