SITPRO, the UK trade facilitation body, is challenging European authorities not to dilute effective implementation of the EU Services Directive and to adopt and accelerate the development of the electronic European Single Window for use by service suppliers trading across borders in the EU.
SITPRO Chairman Norman Rose explains:
"The initiative to remove barriers to pan-European trade in services through the implementation of the Services Directive is to be applauded, but the process itself is fraught with difficulties. The success of the Directive will hinge on the efficient working of the Point of Single Contact (PSC), where all the information necessary to enter a market can be accessed by service suppliers. The problem though is that there will be not one PSC but 27, one in each member state. Since the PSC in each member state is essentially outward facing there is a very real concern that some member states may not implement as fully as others or be as transparent as others in an unjustifiable attempt to protect their own suppliers from competition in their home market."
SITPRO believes that an expansion of the electronic single window approach of which SITPRO is a firm supporter will be the simplest and mostly effective way of ensuring that the PSC is transparent and easy to access, but is concerned that work on this initiative is not moving ahead fast enough to allow for example the efficient application for licences for the supply of services to be made for some time to come.
"Without a fully operational trans-European Single Window, much of the benefit of the Services Directive will be lost," claims Norman Rose, "and the competitive advantage held by UK service suppliers in a number of sectors risks being diluted as traders struggle to understand the processes they are required to follow in each individual member state.
"We urge the European Commission to demonstrate leadership and accelerate work on the Single Window to ensure that the implementation of the Services Directive can go ahead as smoothly and efficiently as possible to the benefit of traders across Europe."
Notes for Editors
SITPRO, the UK's Trade Facilitation Agency, was established in 1970 to simplify international trade and much of its work has focussed upon improving the procedures at ports and borders, looking at issues such as improving the arrangements for inspecting goods at the border and streamlining the submission of data to government, including the development of the UK International Trade Single Window, a tool that will allow a business to submit to one place all the data required by Government to clear import or export goods.
While SITPRO is better known for its work aimed at simplifying international trade in goods, it is also active in the area of trans-national services, since many services are facilitators of trade in goods. SITPRO welcomed the creation of the EU Services Directive and has played an active role in the BERR consultation on the UK proposals for its implementation.
SITPRO is a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and undertakes policy work at national, European and international levels. For further information, visit SITPRO's website at http://www.sitpro.org.uk/.
SITPRO News Release - 18 February 2008