Trade and customs officials discuss trade facilitation in Central Asia

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Senior trade and customs officials from five Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, and their main trading partners – Russia and Turkey, received practical guidance on trade facilitation at a three-day annual training workshop this week in Dushanbe. The event was jointly organized by the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

This interactive and practice-oriented workshop aimed at equipping participants with knowledge on various tools and approaches for trade facilitation implementation in the region and engaging them in discussions on policy instruments for enhancing efforts to achieve trade facilitation in Central Asia.

The workshop was attended by 26 participants from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. It covered current activities in the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and the practical steps towards facilitating procedures on borders with Uzbekistan.

Mario Apostolov, the Regional Adviser for UNECE Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, noted that the participation of Uzbek counterparts in the workshop is an important breakthrough in our work on regional trade facilitation. “We now have the opportunity to discuss the current state of trade routes in the five Central Asian countries and make recommendations on further facilitation of co-operation and collaboration between the respective agencies,” Apostolov said.

In addition to classroom sessions, a field-trip was organized to the Dusti border-crossing point on the Tajik-Uzbek border where participants were able to assess the cargo transit process in a comparative perspective in relation to previous visits.

Larisa Kislyakova, Chairman of the Board at the Union of Professional Consultants of Tajikistan, noted that the renewed openness of Uzbekistan allowed Tajikistan and other countries to use Uzbekistan’s infrastructure and gain access to markets outside the region. “This growing co-operation needs to be supported. In this regard it is also crucial to simplify the trade procedures on Tajikistan’s end so as to create a comfortable environment for transit, including the creation of roadside services in accordance with international standards for transit,” Kislyakova said.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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