The government is proposing a UK Single Trade Window (STW), investing £180m in the build project of this digital service, which will allow businesses to input data relating to imports and exports in one place, rather than through a variety of systems, operated by a variety of agencies, including HMRC, DEFRA and the Home Office. The main aim of the STW is simplification, so that businesses do not duplicate effort.
The World Customs Organisation (WCO) defines a STW as ‘a facility that allows 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’.
The government is looking to deliver its STW as part of the 2025 UK Border Strategy, to be fully functional by 2027. There are already STWs operating outside the UK, such as in the US.
The STW will remove the need to submit the same documentation to multiple tax authorities, as there will be a single set of documents and so will reduce delay and cost. There will also be the functionality to pre-populate data, based on previous entries, which would be of benefit where there are repeat consignments.
According to the WCO and government, benefits will include:
- Allowing businesses to submit all border data needed, in a standardised format
- Responsibility of the government, to facilitate data sharing amongst border authorities, to receive the information they need
- One time submission to the border authorities through a single portal
- Removing the need for businesses to submit the same data, to different border authorities, through multiple different portals
The government would like to explore three key areas, where it sought views from stakeholders, as follows:
The potential scope for self-declaration of border data directly into the STW. Under the STW, the government is exploring the scope for allowing traders and intermediaries to provide border data directly to it
How the STW should work with existing port and commercial systems, including Community System Providers (CSPs). As the government looks at the data flows and design choices presented with the STW, it needs to understand how CSPs and other border industry stakeholders can best interact with it
The further opportunities and considerations for data in the longer term, including use of supply chain data and interoperability
The outcome of the consultation is now awaited and we will update accordingly.