The Korea Customs Service (KCS) plans to expand its exports of UNI-PASS, an electronics customs clearance system, to Latin America, Asia, and Africa in the near future, a senior official of KCS said.
"Since 2006, we have been using the KCS-developed UNI [unified, universal and unique]-PASS to provide domestic and foreign travelers with advanced customs clearance service," said Chung Il-sok, director general of Information & International Affairs Bureau of KCS.
"As the nation's trade volume soared and the number of domestic and foreign travelers surged over the past years, KCS developed an advanced customs clearance system for speedy customs procedure, interception of harmful goods, the people's health, and social security," Chung said.
In an interview with the Korea IT Times, Director General Chung said, "For the first time in the world, KCS introduced a 100 percent electronics customs clearance system called UNI-PASS. With the introduction of UNI-PASS, the time required for export customs clearance shortened from one day to two minutes and the time for import customs clearance reduced from two days to 1.5 hours.
"At present, UNI-PASS of Korea has been widely recognized as the speediest customs clearance system among the 177 World Customs Organization (WCO) member countries. Thanks to the state-of-the-art system, we have saved 3.8 trillion won in logistics costs annually."
He said, "In particular, some 110,000 airline, shipping, bonded warehouse, and trading companies are using the Single Window System, one of the major modules of UNI-PASS, these days. We have enhanced business efficiency and reduced logistics costs drastically by linking institutions approving various exports and imports conditions, including quarantine offices, and banks, and by sharing information on cargo disposal of logistics companies."
KCS ranks first in competitiveness of customs clearance
Through the effective operation of UNI-PASS, Korea ranked first in terms of competitiveness of exports and imports customs clearance in 2009, which was appraised by the World Bank.
In its Doing Business 2010 report, the World Bank said, "Korea succeeded in saving $2 billion annually by using the Single Window System."
To systematically manage the electronics customs clearance service system from the technical side, KCS acquired ISO20000 and ISO10002 in 2006. It also built an IT Service Management (ITSM) that manages service standards and procedures with a system for sustainable improvement of service quality.
Asked about the KCS' efforts to introduce advanced tariff administration techniques, Chung said, "Exports of electronics customs clearance system is not a simple transfer of IT solution. To improve customs clearance environment of countries introducing the system through construction and operation of UNI-PASS, laws and systems related to the customs clearance business should be strategically improved in keeping with the IT system."
He continued to say, "In line with this, the KCS-developed UNI-PASS has a special competitiveness. Although its exports of UNI-PASS are on an initial stage, the system competes on an equal footing with such world-famous IT companies as IBM and ORACLE in the electronics customs clearance export market, receiving good repuation on its quality, especially from many developing countries "I think it is because UNI-PASS is a total solution that embodied the KCS-propelled informatization and innovation of tariff administration over the past 30 years, beyond simple computerization, automation and solution of existing administrative process," he explained.
Accordingly, KCS is placing its focus on customizing the electronics customs clearance sytem based on improvement of business process and harmony of IT system, he said.
"We analyze customs clearance environment and the informatization status of the countries introducing the system through such preparation works as feasibility study and business process re-engineering & information systemstr strategy planning (BPR and ISP). We will extend full supports for their successful system contruction and stabilization by suggesting proper informatization means suitable for relevant countries by dispatching KCS experts," said Chung.
The following are main contents of the interview with Chung Il-sok, director general of Information & International Affairs Bureau of KCS.
Q: Would you make a brief explanation on KCS' informatization status
A: KCS introduced the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) customs clearance system in 1992, seeking papaerless clearance. Through the three-staged mid- and long-term informatization plan, it finally completed the 100 percent Internet customs clearance service system and Single Window.
Under the Internet customs clearance service system, customers can deal with all customs businesses, including report on exports and imports, cargo management, tariff payment and tariff refund, by making access to the KCS Internet customs portal (http://portal.customs.go.kr/).
About 15.5 million export and import reports were handled through UNI-PASS in 2010, contributing to national economic development through trade promotion.
Q: Would you introduce the status of KCS' exports of electronics customs clearance system
A: Between 2005 and 2010, KCS exported $62 million worth of its electronics customs clearance systems to six countries _ Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Dominica, Mongolia, Guatemal and Ecuador.
In 2011, it concluded a contract with Nepal and Tanjania for construction of system for modernization of customs administration. In the latter half of this year, it also plans to sign a contract with Ecuador to build the second-phased Single Window System.
Q: Would you make a comment on ways to expand exports of UNI-Pass and the KCS direction toward future informatization
A: First of all, we are mapping out a comprehensive plan to expand our exports of UNI-PASS through designation of strategic foothold country, development of slim pakage for supply, development of partial modules, and enhancement of brand power.
Basically, customs administration should be pushed for the two goals - trade activation through speedy customs clareance and guarantee of social security through interception of dangeours and harmful goods.
A rapid change in information environment, including spread of mobile climate, convergence of IT technologies and debut of smartphones, is offering many chances and possibility, but it also generates such risks and negative functions as leakage of information and cyber terror.
As a result, KCS plans to offer safe cyber customs administration environment by grafting advanced information technology onto the customs administration information system.
IT Times is going to run a year-long series of articles on e-Government. Below is the year-long plan
June 2011: Interview with Kim Nam-seok, Vice Minister of Public Administration and Security (Published)
July 2011: Compatible Korean e-Government system favored by abroad (Published)
August 2011: Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO)'s e-Patent system
September 2011: Korea Customs Service: UNI-PASS, the world's first 100% electronic clearance system that provides one-stop PASS service
October 2011: e-Procurement System that manages the whole process of bids & contracts electronically
November, 2011:Seoul City's open civil application system. This system opens the whole process of handling situations for civil affairs in real time
December, 2011: Local government office that provides e-government service through a TV in the Kangnam governmental office
January, 2012:: Republic of Korea's Ministry of Justice Immigration Service
February, 2012: Home tax System
March, 2012: National Computing & Information Agency, the world best government information data center. The total IT service agency of the digital government
April 2012: MOPAS, the governmental agency that generalizes e-Government information security policies and oversea support for e-Government
May 2012: A collection of articles on e-government by IT Times
June 2012: Publishing of entire series in a stand-alone book