ISLAMABAD - Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal Khan on Wednesday said that National Single Window (NSW) for trade would be established within a period of one or two years.

Speaking at two-day conference on the establishment of a National Single Window (NSW) for trade, he said "this system has the capacity to transform and modernize traditional way of doing business by introducing various trade-related processes and procedures in an automated, paperless environment leading to significant savings to Pakistan's trade in terms of time and costs."

"This development will have a positive impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector regulatory bodies," the minister said.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Federal Board of Revenue partnered to host a two-day conference on the establishment of a NSW for trade.

The NSW will allow parties involved in trade and transport to file standardized information and documents at a single entry point for all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.

The conference brought together more than 100 governmental officials from key trade regulators to better understand the challenges involved in institutionalizing Pakistan's National Single Window for trade.

Afzal said the NSW would also help increase profitability of entrepreneurs, which would ultimately increase tax recovery ratio and expand tax-base.

He further said that Pakistan is far behind of the world as this initiative should have been adopted 10 years before, but it is never too late, we are stepping into it which will be a superb integrated, computerized and electronic system.

Around the world, bureaucratic processes that burden traders deter business and discourage exports.

A National Single Window will expedite the process of cross-border trade, enabling businesses to expand their operations and the government to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.

Acting USAID Mission Director Helen Pataki said, "For Pakistan, boosting exports and enhancing the competitiveness of Pakistani industries is integral to overcoming the current trade imbalance. By making trade simpler, the National Single Window will unlock Pakistan's economy."

Development of the National Single Window for trade in Pakistan will be phased in over a span of four years. The National Single Window is only one component of USAID's enduring efforts to support Pakistan's economic growth by enabling private sector investment, promoting a vibrant agricultural sector, fostering a strong business enabling environment, and expanding trade opportunities.