Added by Andrea Hampton, last edited by Andrea Hampton on Jan 28, 2014  (view change)



The workshop was chaired by Andrea Hampton and Remy Marchand and had 21 attendees, including Eva Chan who participated by Skype during the morning session.   A full list of attendees is provided at the end of these minutes.

The following agenda was proposed and adopted:

9:00        Summary of progress to date

9:30        Thematic 1: Clarifying the concept-       Presentation from the WCO on Globally Networked Customs

-       Presentation from UNECE on IOIS
10:30     Coffee Break

11:00     Thematic 2: Semantic interoperabilityTopics include:

-         Functional services versus semantics and the usability of ISO, OpenEDI

-         Data harmonization (Rec.34)

-         Usability of existing interoperability models (e.g. PAA, APEC).
13:00     Lunch Break

14:00     Thematic 3: Legal and organisational aspectsTopics include:

-         ASW

-         Mutual Recognition
15:30     Coffee Break

16:00     Discussion of Next Steps

17:00     End

Presentation Links

Workshop overview presentation

WCO presentation on Globally Networked Customs

Workshop Ouputs

Minutes of the meeting

Summary of Progress to Date

The co-chair gave a summary of the work produced to date in preparation of this Recommendation in line with agreements made in previous working group meetings.  Namely:

  • A working draft  of the recommendation (Part 1 has been drafted, Parts 2 and 3 - guidelines and case studies - still to be drafted).* A questionnaire to assist in gathering requirements and relevant information for the Recommendation* A "glossy" informational piece on the Recommendation to be used potentially in conjunction with a conference on Single Window interoperability still to be planned.

These documents are all published on Confluence project site but are to be seen as only preliminary as it was deemed that further clarity was necessary in terms of defining the scope and principles of Recommendation 36.   As part of the effort to help provide further clarity and structure to the approach for this Recommendation, three thematic areas were identified to be discussed and further defined during this workshop.

Thematic 1: Clarifying the concept

A few areas for clarification were grouped under this thematic area:

  • The implications of "interoperability" versus "interconnectivity".* Sources of case studies.* The implications for interoperability when multiple Single Windows exist within a country.* What data needs to be exchanged between SW systems.

The representative from the Netherlands highlighted the fact that several "SW" systems exist there, including a privately run system to manage canal barge cargo.  The co-chair proposed that the scope of Recommendation 36 must be primarily aimed towards Single Windows that perform [some] regulatory functions for import and export in order to align with the definition provided in Recommendation 33 but that examples for interoperability may come from any and all types of Single Window. This was met with broad agreement. Jari Salo (Finland) highlighted the benefit of maintaining broad perspectives on Single Window in order to "fertilize" the action and gain publicity.

SP Sahu of the WCO gave a presentation on the current status of the Globally Networked Customs (GNC) activities from which several areas were particularly useful in terms of crossovers for the development of Recommendation 36, namely: the IEEE's definition of interoperability from which a definition can be adapted for Recommendation 36; the EU's Interoperability Framework; the use of (functional) utility blocks to define interoperability in the context of GNC; and ongoing challenges for interoperability. The Utility Block approach may be a useful one to adapt for determining what data needs to be exchanged between SW systems.  It was agreed that developing a set of core services for the recommendation 36 would also be an important exercise.

Tom Butterly of UNECE outlined the recent work on Inter-Organisational Information Systems (IOIS) which may serve as useful sources of case studies and illustrations for interoperability between multiple single windows

Thematic 2: Semantic Requirements

Originally labelled "Technical Requirements", the co-chair explained that this could be re-labelled to "Semantic Requirements" to be more in-keeping with a technology neutral approach to this Recommendation. A few of the areas for discussion under this thematic include:

  • the technical / semantic implications of interoperability* the current international standards exist that can be used in SW interoperability* the impact of business requirements on the technical considerations

Thematic lead, Eva Chan, highlighted the need for greater participation in order to build on previous Recommendation 36 work as input to date has been limited.  The co-chairs call on working group members to identify their capacity to allocate time accordingly to assist in the development of this recommendation. 

While there are technical considerations such as the WCO data model, EDI, these specifics may be referenced in the guidelines and do not form a major part of the development of the Recommendation.

Case study examples were mentioned such as US-Canada, China-Korea-Japan collaboration and the IATA project, Netherlands SW for barge cargo, e-Maritime, and the Italian SW project which is working with several countries (SWs) outside Europe.  More understanding of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) is needed.

Tom Butterly mentioned the Transport data model and the fact that there is a Common Reporting Schema for transport and regulatory reports.

The chair, Remy Marchand, mentioned that open EDI provides very clear directions for interoperability and also pointed out the differences between business process execution (a service, like network protocols) versus business process definition (part of Business operations with e-documents, data models).

There was some discussion around the different SAD systems (in Europe, Asia, SELA etc.) which SP had detailed in his presentation and the WCO concept of Basic information packages.

The importance of the guidelines (currently Part 2 of the working draft) was discussed and agreed to really be the starting point for the Recommendation 36.  The guidelines ought to detail an approach for interoperability from a user's perspective answering the questions: What do I exchange? Using which standards? Which tools are available? Legal framework needs to be established, needs, technology, business case etc. 

Thematic 3: Legal and organisational aspects

Although there were no specific legal experts present among the working group's participants, legal and organisational aspects were considered.

The co-chair described the reasoning at this stage to bundle legal and organisational (by which is meant administrative or management) aspects together.  That is the fact that these two are usually intrinsically linked (the legislative and policy framework shapes the administrative aspects and vice-versa) but this linkage is often forgotten in implementation leading to such questions as to who is going to manage the SW? and how? coming too late and leading to operational and funding challenges across Single Window implementations worldwide.

Several of the WCO's GNC Utility Blocks involve Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and the representative from the Netherlands suggested further investigation into different types of MRA, comparing their contents as they relate to SW interoperability issues such as AEO and trader identification.

The question was also raised as to the legal and administrative framework in countries where there are multiple SW in existence.   How might an agreement between them look and how might the national legal framework relate to legal agreements with another country.   The example of Korea was discussed with input from workshop participants NIPPA, KLnet, and Lance and it was agreed further investigation of the legal and administrative set-ups in this case would be useful.


The meeting was wrapped up with a discussion of the outcomes of the day which were summarised with participation of all the working group members present.  They were as follows:


  • Focus on single windows that perform regulatory functions (in line with Rec.33) but seek examples on interoperability from other (private sector/logistics) single windows to facilitate trade and data pipelines.* There can be more than one single window within a national border performing regulatory functions.* Adaptation of the IEEE definition of interoperability for Recommendation 36.  This was adapted to read: "The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and without special effort on the part of the trader to use the information that has been exchanged."

Context (that may shape differences in the various approaches to SW interoperability)

  • Existence of multiple single windows within a single country* Interoperability business needs between single windows within a national border* National legal framework* International legal framework (stages of regional integration) * Interoperability business needs across borders and regionally (needs driven by regional integration and/or trade corridors)


The following challenges were identified, among which are crossovers with challenges faced by the WCO's Globally Networked Customs project.

  • Cross-border trader identification (incl. trusted trader)* Cross-border supply-chain transaction identification (UCR)* Cross-border Product Identification* Lack of unified data models* Different [conflicting] Legal requirements (including data protection constraints)


It was agreed that the three originally identified thematic areas will be better renamed / refocused:

  • Clarifying the Concept would become Business Needs
    • New question: what is the link between context and business needs?* Parallels with EIF "Organisational Interoperability"* Technical Requirements would become *Semantic Requirements* Legal & Organisational would become Legal, Managerial, and Administrative Aspects
    • With an additional question re: legal constraints between SW within countries

Methodology and Next Steps

  • Develop guidelines / working methodology that starts from (user) trader perspective
Andrea Hampton and Remy Marchand to draft outline structure for the Guidelines
  • Case Study: Korea - multiple Single Windows, Legislative framework and possible examples from South America
Korea: KLnet, Lance Thompson, NIPPA, + KTnet, etc
South America: Tom Butterly to identify contact
  • Identify business needs (what needs to be shared, by whom) à functional / utility blocks
    • AEO Mutual Recognition (& Trader Identification?)* Control Mutual Recognition* Dematerialization of supporting documents (coordinate with UNCITRAL)** Information sharing on Commercial Fraud
SP Sahu, Eva Chan + others to be identified
  • Develop a list of Core Services to support SW interoperability (SP Sahu)
SP Sahu (and others to be identified)
  • Revise and distribute the Survey
    • Must be focused on interoperability.** Must be able to capture multiple perspectives per country.
Andrea Hampton / Remy Marchand

List of Attendees

Alexander Friedman, Croatian Chamber of the Economy

Andrea Hampton, Crown Agents, UK

Eva Chan, DJava Factory

Francesca Zadro, Italian Trade Agency

Guillaume Laurency, Bureau Veritas

Hasan Ali Hidir, Ministry of Customs and Trade, Turkey

Jari Salo, TIEKE

Jasmine Chang, NIPA-KR

Jaume Bagot, IAPH - Port of Barcelona

Julien Hue, SOGET

Lance Thompson, Conex FR

Matti Oivukkamaki, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland

Mike Onder, C3 Consulting

Mitsuru Ishigaki, JASTPRO

Paloma Bernal, Georgetown University

Remy Marchand, Afnet

Rob van Kwik, Ministry of Finance, Netherlands

SP Sahu, WCO

Sunho Park, KL-Net

Wonjae Park, KL-Net

Youngkon Lee, KPU

Youngkon Lee, KPU

Note : All the documents workshop can be accessed via the UN/CEFACT projects page on the website. The presentations made during the workshop have been added at the same URL address.


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Meeting Minutes
Minutes Conference Call 18 Dec 2013