Simplifying trade procedures in Central Asia

29 June 2022
ITC News

From domestic roadmaps to regionally coordinated trade facilitation reforms

In May, the International Trade Centre’s Ready4Trade Central Asia project organized a regional meeting on simplifying trade procedures in Central Asia. Under the topic “From domestic roadmaps to regionally coordinated trade facilitation reforms”, the three-day meeting presented a rare opportunity for decision makers, technical experts and private-sector representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, along with representatives of European Union delegations, to discuss common challenges associated with customs and border management.

How do you reduce the cost of intra-regional trade for small businesses and boost trade flows from the region to the European Union (EU)? To address this question, more than 80 participants from Central Asia and Europe discussed emerging trends and synergies in trade procedures.

As part of its “Addressing obstacles to trade” component of the Ready4Trade project, ITC reviewed the step-by-step export/import procedures for 10 trade flows originating from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to identify gaps, overlaps and bottlenecks in trade legislation and procedures.

Based on the results of the analysis, the project put forward recommendations for procedural simplifications, which were presented and consulted with public and private stakeholders at the national level. They were presented to national stakeholders through roadmaps that contain reform activities and solutions to address procedural cross-border bottlenecks.

Kestutis Jankauskas, EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan, said at the meeting:"Today's challenges require quick and balanced decisions to revitalize business ties and to engage small businesses in international trade. The analysis prepared by the EU-funded Ready4Trade project contains practical recommendations on how to simplify export and import procedures for specific goods in Central Asia so that these countries can sell more within the region and to the EU.”

The event became a regional platform to build consensus on procedural simplification reforms that require bilateral and regional coordination and prioritize their implementation in the framework of the Ready4Trade project.

About the project

With “Ready4Trade Central Asia”, the European Union and the International Trade Centre are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries include governments, small and medium sized enterprises, in particular women-led enterprises, and business support organizations. The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.