Improving the Integrated Trade Portal Service (UNI-PASS)
Korea Customs Service

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
1. Inefficiency from Complicated Trade & Clearance Procedures and Use of Paper Documents With Korea's rapid economic growth, trade volume has grown by an annual average of 15% in the 1990s and requests by import/export businesses for improvement in trade services increased. Especially from late 1997 when Korea received an IMF relief loan, government innovation such as improving procedures in trade and clearance was crucial in order to improve work efficiency of numerous businesses and small-sized trading companies faced with financial difficulties due to the foreign currency crisis. However, there was no integrated trade system which is expedited and convenient to use for citizens and businesses engaged in trade. For that reason, citizens and businesses engaged in trade had to visit tens of trade-related agencies in person to submit over 100 clearance-related documents. All customs administrative procedures were conducted with hundreds of paper documents and even more in the clearance process. Citizens and businesses engaged in trade had to produce clearance-related paper documents; then visit the Customs in person and wait in line to declare goods. Korea Customs had to carry out complex clearance procedures such as manual typeing of paper declarations for imports/exports, physical inspection of the entire cargo, and producing paper documents on the result of inspection for imports/exports. It take 15 to 23 days from carry-in to release of goods, incurring economic difficulties to citizens and businesses engaged in trade because of the delays in logistics and excessive clearance costs. All of this caused corruption in the Customs to reduce clearance time. 2. Lack of Transparency Owing to Non-disclosure of the Clearance Process and Distrust in Customs Administration Though citizens and businesses engaged in trade have the right to acquire necessary information about the process of how goods arrive from foreign countries and how they are cleared, they could not get information about the clearance progress in the Customs and additional time and costs had to be expended by citizens and businesses engaged in trade for the information related to the clearance process. Such lack of transparency in administrative services caused a decline of trust in the Customs. Therefore, the need for innovation in administration of the Customs, including informatization, was increasingly demanded by citizens and businesses. 3. Inconvenience of Work Process in Business due to No Linkage among Trade-related Agencies Citizens and businesses engaged in trade had to visit other government agencies in person, such as Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in order to get approvals. These had to be submitted to the Customs in the cases of declaring goods which required certificates of import/export-related inspection and quarantine. Along with this inconvenience, there was no way for citizens and businesses to check whether their requests are approved through the issuing agencies due to no linkage between the Customs and trade-related agencies. Separate inquiries needed to be made to the agencies for import/export approval and there were frequent delays in clearance because of it. Due to the delays, citizens and businesses engaged in trade had property damage from decreased merchantable quality of goods such as perishables. Tax payment, such as customs duties for goods to be cleared, had to be made at a bank in person. Businesses could not take care of all trade-related work at one location so there were delays and rising costs in logistics, causing a further increase of work inefficiency in a vicious cycle. 4. Increasing Complaints from the Public Related to Trade Complaints by citizens and businesses engaged in trade continued to increase because of no provision of trade-related integrated services, complex clearance procedures, no transparency in administration, and rising logistics costs due to delays in logistics. Korea Customs had no appropriate responses and measures for the increasing complaints of the public derived from dissatisfaction with, and absence of, an unified processing system. The public satisfaction in administration was rated low at around 50%, and the integrity of the Customs was also rated low at 5 points out of 10, as of 2002.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
1. Korea Customs' Recognition of the Need for Improvement of Trade Services and Organization of a Customs Strategic Task Force Because citizens and businesses engaged in trade had difficulties with the increase of costs due to delay in logistics and work inefficiency, it was recognized that there was a demand for significant simplification of import/export clearance procedures and provision of integrated trade portal services. For this reason, Korea Customs organized a strategic task force composed of experts in each area of administration in customs, IT experts, and trade-related experts in government agencies and private businesses for System Integration(SI) software, and took the lead in improving trade services. 2. Implementation of the Project through Establishment of a Systematic Strategy Korea Customs significantly simplified clearance procedures through computerizing its internal process. By 1999, the entire import/export process was completely computerized with the EDI method and established paperless import/export systems. In 2000, the knowledge management system was adopted, which enabled sharing and utilization of information on administration. The Internet-based e-clearance system was built which laid down the platform for online trade services. Additionally, a portal site for integrated clearance and logistics information was set up in order to provide global logistics information services to citizens and businesses, and the integrated trade portal service system was set up in order to improve trade services. 3. Establishment of a Linked System among Relevant Import/Export Agencies to Provide One-stop Trade Services to the Public In 2003, under the order of the President of Korea, establishment of a linked system among trade-related agencies was selected as a task for innovation of the government, aimed at facilitating logistics trade in Northeast Asia. For that purpose, a task force was formed, which was composed of the representatives of the Korea Customs Service, Ministry of Security and Public Administration, agencies for import/export approval, organizations specialized in informatization, system developers, trading companies, and citizens. In the beginning, agencies for import/export approval were not enthusiastically participating due to shortage of budget and personnel as well as possibility of potentially reduced authority of their agencies. The Korea Customs Service stressed the importance of enhanced convenience for citizens and trading companies which would provide one-stop trade services. Currently 38 agencies for import/export approval are linked in the system and 55 trade services have been provided. 4. Creating Participation and Cooperation of All Stake-holders Related to Establishment of Integrated Trade Portal Services To provide high quality, integrated, national trade services, a consultation body was organized for the participation of all stake-holders including citizens, trading companies, trade-related government agencies, banks, airlines, shippers, carriers, customs brokers, logistics companies, and e-document agents. Through continuous dialogue and collection of opinions from each stake-holder, an optimal system was established to offer high quality trade services to citizens and trading companies.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Establishment of the Integrated Trade Portal Service System, UNI-PASS With limitations on resources and the domestic market, over 90% of Korea's national income comes from trade. For this reason, trade has been the essence of the development of Korea's economy and any delay in clearance leads to a delay in logistics, which causes significant economic loss. UNI-PASS is a system which provides services in national trade, clearance, and logistics. With limited manpower and resources, UNI-PASS also has been effectively responding to increasing trade volume which has grown 2,250 times in the past 50 years. UNI-PASS provides 197 categories of consumer-centric information on trade in real time. Upon the arrival of cargo, a unique cargo management number is issued to make the cargo information available in real time to citizens and trading companies about its arrival, unloading, storing, bonded transport, customs declaration, inspection, tax payment, and release from the Customs, which secures visibility of trade and logistics work and enhances predictability and transparency. In particular, Korea's international competitiveness was raised by saving 3.8 trillion won in logistics costs per year for import/export businesses through the provision of expedited clearance services to citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs has improved the entire trade process dramatically and enhanced efficiency in administration by providing a 100% paperless e-clearance system which is not available in other countries. The UNI-PASS system integrated and linked 38 trade-related OGAs and 430,000 businesses in the logistics supply chain, such as trading companies, customs brokers, shippers, airlines, bonded transport companies, and bonded warehouses. It significantly reduced logistics costs for citizens as well as trading companies and enhanced trade competitiveness. Korea Customs obtained a patent on UNI-PASS in June 2006, as well as patents on the Early Warning and Control System(EWACS) in 2010 and Integrated Risk Management system(IRM-PASS) in 2013 which are part of UNI-PASS. Korea Customs has also been certified and maintained ISO 9001 and ISO 20000 in customs administration as well as the quality management of the clearance system for 7 consecutive years. These patents and certifications objectively identify the innovativeness and creativity of UNI-PASS. In addition, Korea's UNI-PASS has greatly contributed to Korea Customs' winning of first place in the assessment of “Doing Business” by the World Bank in the area of trade across borders for 5 consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013, and has been globally recognized as an innovative system. Korea Customs has also won first place among 198 countries in Airport Service Quality(ASQ) by Airports Council International(ACI) in the area of customs for 8 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2012, by providing the best customs service to travellers visiting Korea through UNI-PASS.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
1.Establish an Integrated Trade Portal System Korea Customs' integrated trade portal system, UNI-PASS, provided innovative high quality trade services to citizens and trading companies. By providing 100% e-documents services as well as real-time information in the entire import/export clearance process to citizens and trading companies, transparency and reliability of trade services were improved. One-stop trade services were provided through the linkage of trade-related OGAs and private businesses such as banks, airlines, shippers, and carriers. 2.Implement Systematic Service Improvements To collect sufficient opinions from citizens and trading companies and to provide them enough time to become familiar with the system, a comprehensive master plan with 5 phases was established and systematic improvements in services were implemented starting in 1992. The comprehensive phased master plan was set up with the active support of the Commissioner of Korea Customs who was the chief executive of the plan. Phase 1, the “comprehensive 6 year plan for automated clearance based on EDI” was established in 1992 and the computerization of the Customs' internal process made the clearance process greatly simplified. By 1998, the entire import/export process became 100% computerized with the EDI method and established paperless import/export systems. Phase 2, the “3 year plan to build the information management system for administration” was established in 2000. The efficiency and productivity of administration were enhanced by adopting a knowledge management system which enabled sharing and utilization of administrative information for the improved trade services, and by adopting an integrated information system for systematic risk management such as selectivity of high-risk cargo and logistics facilitation. Phase 3, the “3 year plan for informatization in administration” was established in 2003. The Internet-based e-clearance system established by 2005 laid down a platform to provide all public services as well as trade services through the Internet. A customer relationship management system was adopted in order to manage and apply opinions and feedback from citizens and trading companies. Phase 4, the “informatization strategy plan to respond to ubiquitous environment” was established in 2006 for the purpose of setting up an integrated clearance logistics portal to provide real-time global logistics information service to citizens and businesses. This enhanced predictability of logistics and transparency of administration. Phase 5, the “BPR/ISP plan for the Customs in the 21st century" was established in 2009 and an integrated e-clearance portal service system was set up for improved national trade services. 3. Provide One-stop Trade Services by Linking Systems through Enhanced Partnerships among Trade Related Agencies Korea Customs built a single window system for clearance within the trade portal service system. It enabled transferring information to agencies for import/export approval after declarations were submitted to the Customs. Duplicate submission of applications to agencies for import/export approval and import/export declarations to the Customs by citizens and trading companies was prevented in the cases of importing/exporting goods subject to approval. In this system reports only need to be submitted once to the Customs because necessary information from agencies for import/export approval, related to food, medicine, animals and plants is shared in partnership with the relevant agencies. This system made it possible to reduce clearance process time while maintaining the authority of relevant agencies and made it significantly convenient for citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs built a system which is easy for the public to use based on its experience. A task force was organized and the system was improved through partnerships with agencies for import/export approval to encourage active participation. 4. Communicate with Stake-holders During development, Korea Customs set up several mechanisms such as the Korea Customs web site, the manager's email, a telephone line through which suggestions and opinions can be expressed, regardless of the time or place, concerning improvements of trade services. Through regular trade-related conversations with citizens and trading companies, user training, and surveys, opinions and feedback from citizens and trading companies were collected at the time of system development and after the completion of the system. A consultation body composed of trade-related government agencies and associations was organized in order to provide high quality services.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
This project was critical at the national level for the purpose of providing national trade services to 430,000 citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs built a cooperation system with trade-related government agencies, aiming at integrated provision of trade services. To secure strong momentum for the project, a comprehensive master plan in 5 phases was set up and systematically implemented starting in 1992 in partnership with relevant agencies including Executive Office of the President, and Ministry of Strategy and Finance. A public-private strategic task force for informatization was organized, which was composed of 300 representatives from 30 trade-related government agencies, 20 system developers, and trade-related associations. This task force planned the project, collected opinions from relevant agencies, persuaded stake-holders, and built the system. For successful establishment of the system, Korea Customs benchmarked from countries such as the U.S., Japan, and Australia and informatization data of 30 countries, such as their system development status, was collected through Korea Customs' attaches. In the public sector, 38 trade-related government agencies, such as Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Information and Communication, Seed Association, and Radio Research Laboratory, as well as associations have established a cooperation system with Korea Customs. Through this cooperation, systems of agencies for import/export approval and UNI-PASS were linked and contributed to providing one-stop trade services. In the private sector, opinions on improvement of services have been continuously gathered through a public-private consultation body composed of representatives of 430,000 stake-holders in trade such as import/export businesses, airlines, shippers, logistics companies, forwarders, banks, and e-document agents. Their opinions have been applied to the system for improvement of integrated trade services. During system development, periodic reviews have been given by the internal review division and external agencies, such as Prime Minister's Office, and Ministry of Security and Public Administration, and results of the reviews were applied to the system.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
1. Application of Innovative Technologies and Work Process UNI-PASS is a system which can be accessed on a ship in the sea, on a PC and a cell phone abroad at any time, anywhere, on any device(3 Anys) 24 hours a day all year around through EDI. The knowledge and experience accumulated by individual Customs officers' were directly integrated into the system to contribute to the improvement of the entire system. It was built as an organic system through which the general public and trading companies can also easily use the Internet UNI-PASS portal to obtain information and exchange opinions. A patent on UNI-PASS was registered in June 2006 as a “system which implements an e-clearance method”. In May 2010, Korea Customs obtained a patent on the “early warning control system to recover the e-clearance system from its operational failures”. UNI-PASS adopted international standards such as Data Model of the WCO which 179 Members to the WCO have adopted. 2. Systematic Implementation of the Project through the Informatization Division Korea Customs reorganized its structure in April 1990 and elevated the head of informatization division from the deputy director level to the director general level in order to establish a trade portal system. The informatization project was carried out by a team composed of the Commissioner, Director General of Informatization Bureau, and officers in charge of computerization. Particularly, the Director General of Informatization Bureau, as a chief information management officer(CIO) of Korea Customs, was the chairperson of the implementation commission for a trade portal system. The implementation commission conducted deliberations and decision-making on major issues in the process of system implementation, and was in charge of cross-government informatization and linking systems as well as supervising system developers for systematic implementation of the project. 3. Maximizing Completeness of the Project by Creating a Cooperation System with the Best Field Experts in the Public and Private Sectors The UNI-PASS system can be seen as a result of incorporating various areas such as trade, clearance, finance, and logistics. With the fullest support of the highest-level decision-maker in Korea Customs, a task force was organized with specialized officers in the areas of trade, logistics, and IT in the center. Officers with decades of experience working in trade-related administration, and development companies' best experts in each function of the system, created a cooperation system and decided the scope of their work. In the implementation of the project, problems were solved through proactive communication. Especially in the process of project planning, designing, implementation, and operation, opinions of citizens and trading companies as well as relevant agencies were actively collected to meet all stake-holders' needs. In addition, through enterprise architecture(EA), information resources such as work, data, and budget, technologies were more efficiently managed from the stage of system development. Through prevention of duplication among systems and integration of functions, the effectiveness of the project was maximized. After completion of system development, usage analysis and customers' needs were collected and used to improve the system. 4. Establishment of the Phased Master Plan for Improvement of Trade Services, and Securing Budget Systematically Korea Customs set up and implemented a medium and long-term master plan in 5 phases for the purpose of a project which was to improve trade services starting from 1992. Korea Customs planed the budget for the project yearly and gave an explanation to the budget compilation division. After a budget deliberation by the National Assembly, the relevant budget was secured. Through strict deliberations by the National Assembly and the Board of Audit and Inspection, the budget was spent dissipation-free accordingly by the budget plan.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. Building the Integrated Trade Portal System, UNI-PASS Korea Customs has linked 430,000 businesses in the logistics supply chain including import/export businesses, customs brokers, airlines, shippers, forwarders, and carriers. From that, Korea Customs has completed an integrated trade portal system which provides one-stop clearance services by linking with work processes related to national trade such as import, export, duty drawback, bonded transport, approval for import/export, and banking to citizens and trading companies regardless of the time or place. With a single sign-on by citizens and trading companies, all public services related to trade can be processed, and real-time information is provided on the status of clearance progress of goods. Citizens and trading companies also are provided with SMS and email notification in real time about the progress of their trade through the integrated logistics information service in the portal system. In addition, 197 categories of trade information services are provided by the Customs such as 23 types of advance notification services in administration, as well as the services for import/export records, duty drawback records, and tax payment records. These services are all provided in real time. 2. Simplification of Clearance Procedures and Reduction of Clearance Process Time with a 100% E-clearance System Paperless 100% e-clearance by Korea Customs has provided convenience in import/export clearance to 430,000 citizens and trading companies. With 5,800 cases of trade work per year processed, logistics costs for citizens and trading companies are greatly decreased due to dramatically reduced import/export clearance time. Expedited clearance and reduced logistics costs were the benefits to citizens and trading companies from UNI-PASS which was built by Korea Customs and significantly cut down the processing time for trade related services. This improvement raised competitiveness of businesses in Korea and greatly contributed to the development of Korea to become the center of the logistics in Northeast Asia. 3. Provision of Single Window Services from the Integrated Linkage among Trade-related Agencies Korea Customs has centralized all 55 types of reporting windows by linking the systems in partnership with 38 agencies for import/export approval, related to trade including Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. One-stop services became possible with a single submission of import/export declarations and approval requests for import/export in the portal system. By integrating systems of trade-related agencies, these improved services have processed about 3.55 million approval requests for import/export with the one-stop services in the trade portal system between 2006 and 2012. 4. Disclosure of Clearance Process Information in Real Time and Creation of Channels to Collect Trade-related Stake-holders' Opinions Korea Customs has made the clearance process information available to citizens and businesses through the Internet, and through cell phone text messages for citizens and businesses with difficulty accessing the Internet. By providing 275 types of documents and 197 categories of clearance process information, transparency of administration was raised. By actively collecting opinions of citizens and trading companies through the portal system, email, and the counselling center, the reliability of administration also improved.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. Enactment of Legislation for Informatization and Operation of the Project Committee With a view to efficiently managing Customs resources for informatization and maximizing the outcomes of investment for informatization, a law on informatization of customs administration was legislated and sub-provisions were made and implemented. Due to this law, the e-clearance System Implementation Project Committee was formed with the Vice Commissioner of Korea Customs as a chairperson to supervise work on the e-clearance system. The e-clearance System Implementation Working Group was formed with the Director General of Information Management and International Cooperation Bureau as a chairperson to guide deliberations and make decisions on major issues. The Project Committee was the supreme decision-making body which was related to cross-government informatization and collection of opinions of external users. It also supervised the entire informatization of the Customs. The Working Group conducted field work under the Committee. A general supervision team for system development, and a task force for e-clearance management composed of chief architects, experts in the private sector, were organized to analyze the operational status of the system monthly and to collect customers' needs for improvement of the system. 2. Assessment of Citizens and Trading Companies on the Trade Portal Service System Monitoring and assessments have been given by citizens and trading companies since 2002 in the first and last half of the year on the operation of the UNI-PASS system of Korea Customs. Korea Customs outsourced survey work to an external specialized organization to conduct surveys by interview, telephone, mail, and email of citizens and trading companies who are UNI-PASS users, in order to assess satisfaction in the operation of UNI-PASS and in the service items in each area for the purpose of collecting opinions on improvement of the system and services. 3. Assessment by ISO on the Operation of the UNI-PASS System Korea Customs has obtained ISO 20000 certification for the first time in the world in 2006 in the trade portal service system area. Since then, Korea Customs' UNI-PASS has been assessed by ISO every 3 years on its operational system for customer management such as UNI-PASS services, and IT service operation such as security compliance procedures, in order to verify its compliance with international standards in the level of service management and operation in its entire procedures. Additionally, a post audit related to the certification has been conducted biannually on the operational management of UNI-PASS.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Korea Customs has had a number of difficulties in implementing the project for the integrated trade portal system, UNI-PASS, which started in 1992. The biggest difficulty was to build the most optimal system satisfying needs of all stake-holders, including trade-related government agencies, banks, airlines, shippers, carriers, customs brokers, logistics companies, and citizens and trading companies, for the purpose of providing integrated trade services. On top of that, internally in the Customs, some officers had objections against dramatic change in the work environment by adopting the new system and the new trade work process with 100% e-documents because they had concerns with reduction of their discretion and authority. A big effort was made to continue communicating with each stake-holder and to collect opinions in order to encourage participation in the project for the purpose of building a system which provides high quality trade services to citizens and trading companies. As for trade-related government agencies, their concern was also reduction of their authority by linking their systems with the Customs. Because of that concern, they did not agree to link the systems in the beginning of the project despite the convenience for citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs has made this project as the cross-government project “task for logistics trade facilitation in Northeast Asia” led by the President, and built an organic cooperation network with trade-related government agencies and associations. The linkage among the systems was accomplished after continued communication and persistent persuasion stressing the need for linking the systems. Strong objections were raised by EDI-based e-document agents and customs brokers from concerns about their business interests, such as broker's fees, because the UNI-PASS system is an Internet-based trade service portal system which anyone with Internet access can use. Korea Customs made efforts to set up a public-private consultation body through which 430,000 trade stake-holders, such as citizens, trading companies, airlines, shippers, logistics companies, forwarders, banks, e-document agents, and customs brokers, can participate. Through this public-private consultation body, Korea Customs has continued to listen to opinions on improvements for the system and they were reflected in UNI-PASS to improve integrated trade services to all stake-holders' satisfaction. Through continuous workshops and briefing sessions for internal Customs officers, the system implementation project to improve trade services made it possible to provide high quality administrative services to citizens and trading companies. By preventing corruption factors and raising transparency in administration, trust from citizens and trading companies was gained. Internal objections were overcome with the emphasis that work efficiency would be maximized by the electronic work process, and with the incentives given to excellent agencies.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1. Provision of One-stop Trade Services Available Any Time and Anywhere Through Korea Customs' UNI-PASS, one-stop trade services have been provided to citizens, import/export businesses, customs brokers, airlines, shippers, and logistics companies available any time, anywhere, and on any device. The services include import, export, duty drawback, bonded transport, approval for import/export, and banking services, which are all linked together in the system. With a single sign-on, citizens and trading companies have been able to take care of business in trade. It also has been possible to check realtime clearance status of goods. Through the integrated logistics information service in the portal system, citizens and trading companies also have received SMS and email to check the progress related to trade in real time. Provision of 197 categories of information in administration, including 23 types of advance administrative notification services as well as trading companies' records such as import/export records, duty drawback records, and duty payment records, has been possible in real time. 2. Reduction of National Logistics Costs through Simplified Clearance Process and Reduced Clearance Time by 100% E-clearance Korea Customs substantially simplified its clearance process through computerization of the work process. 58 million trade transactions per year for citizens and trading companies have been conducted through 100% e-clearance. It also brought convenience in import/export clearance and greatly reduced import/export clearance time, which helped decrease logistics costs for citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs has decreased export clearance process time from 1 day or more to 1.5 minutes or less, and import clearance process time from 2 days or more to 1.5 hours or less. This takes much less time than the UNCTAD recommendation of 4 hours and makes it the world's fastest. According to a research report in 2006 by National Computerization Agency, implementation of UNI-PASS has achieved economic effects of saving 3.8 trillion won in national logistics costs per year. 3. Provision of Trade Single Window Services through the Integrated Linkage with Trade-related Agencies Korea Customs is linked with 164 agencies such as Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, as well as Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and provides information on administration. It is also linked with 38 trade-related agencies for import/export approval such as Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to provide one-stop services where 55 types of import/export approval reporting windows can be substituted by a single submission of import/export declarations and approval requests for import/export. Since the services were integrated by linking with trade-related agencies, approximately 3.55 million approval requests for import/export were processed between 2006 and 2012 through the trade portal system. It achieved economic effects of saving 178 billion won in logistics costs for citizens and trading companies. 4. Enhancement of Administrative Transparency and Integrity of the Customs by Disclosing Clearance Process, and Collection of Opinions from Trade-related Stake-holders Korea Customs has released information on the clearance process to citizens and trading companies online in real time. Cell phone text messages have been sent to citizens and trading companies with difficulty in accessing the Internet. 275 types of document forms and 197 categories of trade-related information have been provided to enhance administrative transparency in trade. This also dramatically raised integrity of the Customs. Through two-way communication, it has been possible to actively collect opinions from citizens and trading companies utilizing the UNI-PASS portal system, email, the integrated counselling center, which raised the reliability of administration was raised. From these improved services, transparency in trade administration was enhanced, The administrative reliability and responsiveness were also raised through collecting opinions of stake-holders such as citizens and trading companies. Korea Customs was selected as the best agency in the assessment of Anti-Corruption Policy for 3 consecutive years from 2009 to 2011, and as an excellent agency in the assessment of Integrity for 5 consecutive years, from 2007 to 2011, by the Korean government. 5. Sharing of Experience with Newly Developing Countries, and Dissemination of the UNI-PASS Korea Customs has shared knowledge and experience related to improvement of trade and customs administrative services by inviting 2,200 Customs officers from 90 countries, 144 times, in order to disseminate the integrated trade portal service system to newly developing countries. Transparency in administrative procedures contributed to creation and expansion of a culture of integrity. Additionally, the integrated trade portal service system, UNI-PASS, was implemented in 8 countries including Tanzania, Ecuador, Nepal, Mongolia, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
1. The National Trade Portal Service System, UNI-PASS, Necessary for Global Trade Facilitation and Safety of the Society Due to increasing FTAs and international trade, countries are implementing modernization projects with a view to providing high quality trade services for the purpose of simplified clearance procedures, trade facilitation, and safety of society. The trade process of all trading countries are similar. The integrated trade portal service system is Internet-based, and is accessible anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Overseas demand for the UNI-PASS system is expected to continuously grow, considering many countries' ongoing modernization projects to improve their trade system, and the rapidly increasing number of Internet users. 2. Continued Benchmarking by Newly Developing Countries, and Dissemination to 8 Countries in Africa and South America Korea Customs has invited 2,200 Customs officers from 90 countries 144 times in order to disseminate the UNI-PASS system to newly developing countries. These officers have benchmarked Korea Customs' knowledge and experience related to improvement of trade and customs administrative services. Projects of business process reengineering in administration for Myanmar, Cambodia, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Columbia, Bolivia, and Peru, were conducted at no costs for recipient countries with an aim to improve their trade services. Korea Customs has built the integrated national trade portal service system, UNI-PASS, in 8 countries including Tanzania, Ecuador, Nepal, Mongolia, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. 3. Contribution to Environmentally-Friendly Sustainability through 100% E-documents in Trade Services Citizens and trading companies reduced unnecessary documents and conducted business with devices such as computers, which implemented the ‘paperless office’ and prevented waste of financial resources. On top of that, the world's first 100% e-clearance service, and one-stop trade services made it unnecessary for citizens and trading companies to visit Korea Customs, trade-related agencies, and banks in person. Citizens and trading companies could produce necessary documents and check trade-related information in the system. It also reduced environmental pollution by greatly reducing use of cars and paper documents, which contributed to low carbon green growth.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
1. Expanding a Culture of Innovation within the Country Korea Customs built UNI-PASS which is a trade portal system for the purpose of systematic informatization of administration, and innovative improvement in administration was implemented by the system. UNI-PASS enabled realization of paperless administration in the Customs, adoption of a selective inspection system for high-risk goods, and real-time provision of clearance progress information to all stake-holders including import/export businesses. Agencies for import/export approval and trade-related stake-holders considered the UNI-PASS project as an internal informatization project of Korea Customs in the beginning. However, accomplishments in administration of the Customs served as a momentum of innovation in the work process of trade-related government agencies. The projet for trade service improvement by the Customs was selected as a cross-national innovation task led by the President. The outcome of the project was improvement of overall logistics trade. In addition, a cross-national culture of innovation expanded to improve the work process in the private and public sectors. As it was in Korea, improvement of cross-national trade services would be possible in newly developing countries through expansion of innovation such as the informatization project in customs. 2. Importance of Building a Partnership with Stake-holders Korea Customs systematically implemented the establishment plan for UNI-PASS in 5 phases. During implementation, many difficulties arose; internal objections in the Customs due to drastic change in the work environment, objections by customs brokers and e-document agents to protect their business interests such as broker's fees, non-cooperation of agencies for import/export approval due to their concerns about the possibility of reduced authority. To overcome such obstacles, Korea Customs, as an agency in charge of the project, organized a informatization task force composed of trade-related government agencies and private groups, and collected opinions of stake-holders through continuous communication. The project aimed to provide convenience in the work process to all trading companies especially small-sized companies, and benefits of expedited clearance and reduced logistics costs. Korea Customs explained the objectives and necessity of the project to relevant stake-holders and persuaded them to actively participate. With the partnership and participation of all stake-holders, UNI-PASS was established to provide high quality trade services to citizens and trading companies. 3. Enhancing National Competitiveness through Improved Administrative Services Korea Customs started with creating and improving functions and services necessary for UNI-PASS based on the needs of trade-related stake-holders. The knowledge and work experience of individual Customs officers were applied to establishment of the system and to improvement of the work process through voluntary participation. Through these improvements, UNI-PASS can provide better, customized, consumer-centric services, actively responding to various customers' demand such as global trade information and provision of real-time information. Additionally, non-stop digital smart services based on electronic processing are available 24 hours a day all year around regardless of the time or place. UNI-PASS has created cost-reducing effects of saving 3.8 trillion won per year nationally through the trade process based on the world's first 100% e-clearance system, the one-stop work process by linking with agencies for import/export approval, and utilization of trade information by stake-holders. There has been a strong need for improvement of trade services in the world due to infinite competition among countries and businesses. Through these improvements, citizens and trading companies can be provided with high quality services and decrease costs for trade. Also, the administrative transparency and reliability can be raised. All of these contribute to higher competitiveness of businesses and the country, and thus national development. 4. Applicability of Korea's Trade System in Other Countries UNI-PASS has adopted international standards such UNCEFACT and WCO DATA MODEL from the beginning, and it is applicable in newly developing countries with lower level of IT development such as in Africa, South America, and Asia. Currently, Korea Customs has established UNI-PASS in 8 countries including Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Nepal. Ecuador has adopted Korea's UNI-PASS and improved its services by raising efficiency in trade facilitation and administrative services, which led to winning of the grand prize in Innovation for Customs Progress in November 2013 by the WCO. Korea Customs has been conducting projects for newly developing countries to help them build a trade portal system by selecting 4 countries every year, and analyzing the countries' trade environment, and setting up strategic plans for informatization. Furthermore, approximately 300 Customs officers from 90 countries in Africa, Asia, and South America have been invited to Korea for their capacity-building in order to share Korea's implementational and operational knowledge on UNI-PASS as the national trade portal system, and experience in administration. National trade is an essential function in any country especially in Africa. Newly developing countries can achieve national economic development by building a trade portal system and by increasing tax revenues from trade. Korea Customs will continue these endeavors in order to assist newly developing countries such as in Africa, Asia, and South America for their higher international competitiveness and further development.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Korea Customs Service
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Soo Young Park
Title:   Senior Officer  
Telephone/ Fax:   Tel. 82 42 481 7918 / FAX 82 42 481 7769
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Building 1, Government Complex-Daejeon, 920 Dunsan-dong, Seo-gu, Daejeon, Korea
Postal Code:   302-701
City:   Daejeon
State/Province:   -

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