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Win, win, win situation, says Finkle

Published:  23 July, 2008

Cross border trade to benefit from Internet effect

An international coalition of wine, beer and spirits companies and trade associations has been formed to work with governments around the world to modernise and simplify customs procedures affecting these drinks. The Wine, Beer and Spirits Coalition for Global Trade Simplification (WBSC) resulted from an initiative by the International Federation of Wines and Spirits (FIVS). "This is a win, win, win situation," said Jim Finkle, president of FIVS and senior vice-president of external affairs at Constellation Brands (formerly Canandaigua). "The Internet has become a powerful resource for expediting information and increasing efficiency. It just makes sense that our industries, governments and consumers should benefit from that." According to a United Nations study, approximately 15% of the cost of international trade includes document and border compliance. In most countries customs requirements impose unnecessary burdens and costs which could be alleviated by using the Internet. The average customs transaction requires 20 to 30 different parties, 40 documents, 200 data elements (including 30 which are repeated at least 30 times) and the re-keying of up to 70% of all data at least once. James Clawson, president of JBC which specialises in customer issues, co-chaired the FIVS working group. He said: "The time is right for this initiative. It used to be that governments did not want to talk with industry but now they are welcoming our input as knowledgeable and trusted partners to improve the system."