The Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) asserts that since its implementation five years ago, the Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior, or Single Window for Foreign Trade, has been, on average, 99.9% effective.

As an example of efficiencies produced by the SAT implemented Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior, or Single Window for Foreign Trade, Mexico’s tax administration authority points out that the time required to unload cargo ships at the major Mexican Port of Veracruz has been reduced from twenty to four days. This improved performance is a result of the SAT’s 2010 choice of the Mexican firm Integradores de Tecnologia (Technology Integrators) to devise and install the system. The firm competed successfully against five other possible service providers to develop a digitally automated technology to process import documentation and trade transactions, thereby speeding up the commercial process. Both the leadership of the SAT and Integradores de Tecnologia have stated that the results evidenced by the Ventanilla Unica have exceeded expectations. Since its implementation, trade transaction accuracy has registered at 99.9%.

A complex project

The primary challenge faced by the contractor in its work to create the Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior came in the form of the effort required to integrate the new system with a myriad of other governmental information platforms. According to Angel Sanchez Suchil, the business director for Integradores de Tecnologia, there was a significant learning curve the company had to master throughout 2011 in order to be able to get the job done and to meet the SAT’s expectations.

In order to grasp the complexity of the task of putting together an effective and efficient Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior, it is important to take into account that there are potentially up to ten governmental agencies involved in any given international trade transaction in Mexico, and that these ten agencies have an approximate combined four hundred documents that are used for record keeping purposes. Beyond the primary documents, there are also a series of sub-documents that are utilized by the agencies for further informational and recordkeeping purposes. The task carried out by Integradores de Tecnologia included the mapping of each of the government agencies’ work and documentation flows and, then, combining them into one seamless and streamlined system.

Some wrinkles needed ironing out

Although the Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior has resulted in overall increased efficiency in the processes required to complete international trade transactions in Mexico, the system has experienced some glitches and has hit some bumps in the road. Ricardo Treviño, the general administrator of Customs services for the Mexican SAT has pointed out that over the course of the system’s five-year existence there have been times during which users have experienced intermittent outages.