Single Window (SW) is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents (mostly in electronic form) at a single entry point, and easily comply with all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements prescribed by government agencies. Over seventy-one countries and economies have introduced some form of SW that has successfully led to efficient and effective data submission processes for import and export operations, and, in turn, brought substantial benefits to each government and trading community. The success of SW at a national level has led regional and international organizations to evaluate the prospect of a Cross-border SW (CSW). However, overlaps of jurisdiction between different legal systems create issues in establishing a CSW.
This article aims to provide an overview of one complex legal issue - electronic signatures that needs to be addressed in order to create conditions for a legally effective CSW. In particular, it examines the existing electronic signature laws and regulations of Australia, the UK, China and Singapore. It evaluates whether the current regulatory framework in the four countries facilitates or impedes the operation of a CSW, and concludes that the diverse electronic signature laws and regulations in the four countries do, in fact, impede the CSW's implementation. The article also makes some useful suggestions as to how to achieve a harmonized and coherent electronic signature regulatory framework for a CSW system.Journal of World Trade