Central Asia Strengthens Its Custom System

Central Asian republics have agreed to strengthen cooperation in customs procedures to assist trade in the region.

Experts from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan discussed customs modernization and cooperation at a recent meeting hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila. Azerbaijan and Mongolia participated as observers.

Customs cooperation is a key issue in the broad partnership between ADB and its developing member countries in Central Asia to promote economic cooperation.

The participants agreed to establish a mechanism to facilitate customs cooperation. A Customs Coordinating Committee will be set up as a decision-making body with working groups at implementation level, the ADB said. Each country will submit a draft action plan and these will be consolidated for consideration at a high-level Customs meeting.

Possible key initiatives to be pursued include a regional seminar on the Revised Kyoto Convention, to increase awareness of customs compliance and other provisions, particularly legislative and implementation aspects.

Other initiatives may include joint processing routines at selected border crossings, regional training for common approaches and mutual understanding of customs operations, and an assessment of simplified systems to facilitate through-transit traffic.