02/2013 - Defending a coherent dematerialisation which benefits French operators


The “National Pact for Growth, Competitiveness and Employment” developed by the government of Prime Minister Ayrault, compiles 32 decisions aimed at making France and French companies more competitive. There are at least three that concern directly external trade. In this context, the Minister for External Trade, Mrs. BRICQ requested that a Customs-Trade Forum be organized in order to identify the main objectives.


On January 24th, 2013, French customs invited around fifty companies and associations for a presentation of the French National Single Window (GUN) and to provide a backdrop for the Minister. CONEX was represented by Lance THOMPSON who actively sought to defend a coherent dematerialization which would be beneficial for French operators.


The project for a single window has been in development for several years and for the moment it is seeking to establish connections between administrations. The long term objective is to provide French operators with a single point of entry for all trans-border operations. During the Forum, customs presented three projects being developed within the current single window: CITES declarations, sanitary/phyto-sanitary certificates and authorizations to import war materiel.


CONEX brought up two essential points. Since the administration is acting as a service provider by grouping multiple procedures in a single entry point, it must take into consideration the operator’s need to know where his requests are at any time – a “tracking” tool. CONEX also insisted that the rule for the exchange of information be EDI (XML or other) and that any other method (on-line forms, paper documents, etc.) be the exception. These other methods would require a recapture of data which is the source of the concordance problem that the DGDDI and the DGA noted. By using an XML transfer of data such problems would be eliminated as there is a true reuse of the data.


Dual-use item declarations were pointed out as problematic in France, needing a clear position in order to ensure the competitiveness of French operators. Indeed, such a declaration can take up to four times longer to process in France than in Germany, for example.


The Forum concluded with the creation of four working groups, including one on the Cargo Community Systems which was subject to divergent opinions. CCSs were presented as a bottleneck for Trade by some and the General Director of Customs, M. FOURNEL underlined that their economic model must not imprison French logistics.


The minister, Mrs. BRICQ requested that a similar Forum be organized in early autumn to check on the progress of the working groups. CONEX shall continue its engagement in dematerialization and will actively participate in the working groups.



Customs-Trade Forum on the French Single Window



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Defending a coherent dematerialisation which benefits French operators