A two-day seminar pooling together a high level of expertise to explore how new technologies, such as Blockchain, could facilitate trade without compromising the security aspect of border control was recently held in Gibraltar.
The seminar was held at the University of Gibraltar and was followed by a visit to the Commercial Gate and the demonstration of the HM Customs Gibraltar ASYCUDA World system and the Yachts Portal.
Senior representatives of international organisations – UNECE, European Commission/DG TAXUD, IPSCA, World Bank and UNCTAD – and of Customs Administrations from Europe and Central Asia have participated in a high-level seminar on Single Window, potential of the Blockchain technology for implementation of Single Window services for cross-border operations, Port Community Systems and Global Data Sharing.
The European Commission DG TAXUD representative presented the EU efforts and plans to establish an EU single window environment for customs as well as to present and exchange on the benefits and drawbacks of the use of the Blockchain technology for cross-border operations.
Richard Morton, Secretary General of IPSCA, said: “It is crucial for Single Window, Port Community Systems and global data sharing to be part of the same conversation if trade facilitation is going to be truly effective, and was delighted to share and exchange experiences and views supporting participants to understand better the challenges and opportunities of bringing these three important elements of trade facilitation together.”
The Regional Adviser in the Economic Cooperation and Integration Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), noted in his presentation that this was a unique workshop that brought together the importance of global standards for trade facilitation and data sharing with excellence on the local level, exemplified by the implementation of the ASYCUDA system as the basis of a single window in Gibraltar.
The workshop achieved its objective: the participants learned from experts from the European Commission, the UN, and IPSCA how to use the international best practice and standards, while international experts learned about the achievement of Gibraltar in building- for the first time in the world – a Single Window using ASYCUDA.”
The World Bank Senior Transport Specialist, Mr. Zaidi represented the view that this seminar was very much to the need of the hour as more and more countries are either undertaking, or planning to undertake the implementation of National Single Window.
Through these types of knowledge exchange events, countries, especially developing countries, not only learn about latest innovation and best practices from global experts but also get the chance to comprehend the challenges faced in successful implementation. He was not only impressed by the knowledge and expertise of the colleagues from UNECE, EU and IPSCA, but equally impressed by the innovative and interesting work being undertaken by the Gibraltar Customs and the ASYCUDA Centre of Excellence. He recommended organising something similar but on a larger scale, so that more countries and related stakeholders can benefit and where The World Bank will be a very willing partner in such ventures in the future.
The University of Gibraltar commented that it is very pleased to work with the UNCTAD Centre of Excellence, with the support of HM Customs, Gibraltar, which will provide specialised customs-related education and training services complementary to the UNCTAD activities for high-level government officials, UN members and the private sector and looks forward to building on their relationship with UNCTAD for many years to come.
For his part, the Collector of Customs John Rodriguez expressed his satisfaction with the workshop which pooled together a high level of expertise across a diverse range of fields which allowed for the constructive exploration of new technologies, such as Blockchain, to facilitate trade without compromising the vitally important security aspect of border control.
Using ASYCUDA to exemplify exactly what can be achieved, he agrees with Mr. Zaidi on the initiative that a similar workshop should be conducted on a larger scale, which would be greatly beneficial to all parties involved.