Digitalizing certificates of origin for efficient trade

20 February 2023
ITC News

Electronic exchange of certificates of origin to improve cross-border trade in Central Asia

On 15-16 February, the EU-funded Ready4Trade project of the International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) held a regional event on electronic exchange of certificates of origin (COs) with public representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Delegates from the ministries of trade, customs, and chambers of commerce have agreed to work towards obtaining international accreditation of the CO through the ICC CO International Accreditation Chain and to explore the opportunity to exchange digital certificates at the bilateral and regional levels.

Enabling the electronic exchange of certificates of origin is expected to increase the efficiency of requesting, processing, issuing, and accepting certificates of origin across borders; cut the time required for businesses to comply with border formalities and complete the export procedure; as well as increase security features. It will also promote deeper cooperation between issuing authorities and regional customs administrations.

More than 200,000 certificates of origin are issued by Central Asian authorities annually, most of them on paper.

Even though some Central Asian countries have developed IT platforms for issuing electronic certificates of origin, there is limited, if not zero automated electronic exchange between issuing agencies, customs and counterparts from the importing country.

To enable its full automatization, there is a need for a digital supply chain throughout: including request, inspection, issuance, transfer and verification.

“Digitalization of trade procedures and implementation of paperless trade measures is crucial for accelerating and facilitating cross-border trade operations, as well as for the overall development of foreign trade,” said Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Martin van der Weide, Chair of the ICC WCF International CO Council added: “Millions of COs are issued every year around the globe, facilitating trade and commerce worldwide, and they are increasingly dematerialised. It was an honor to attend this event and to share our expertise and knowledge about the digitization process of trade documents in the field of origin. We hope that our recommendations will be beneficial to the region towards achieving full paperless CO formalities and support chambers of commerce in Central Asia. We are also looking forward to receiving their applications to join the ICC’s CO international accredited chamber network.”

“This initiative is aimed at promoting cross-border paperless trade and at contributing to build a digital trade ecosystem in Central Asia in line with the European Union priorities related to connectivity and digitalization,” said Alessandro Liamine, Acting Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan.No doubt that it will greatly contribute to strengthen cross-border cooperation between Central Asian countries and beyond.”


About the project

Ready4Trade Central Asia is a four-year EU-funded project implemented by the International Trade Centre in close collaboration with national partners, designed to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the countries of the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular women-led enterprises, and business support organizations.