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UNECE supports trade facilitation in Central Asia

UNECE supports trade facilitation in Central Asia

Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are landlocked countries a long distance from the closest seaports, which creates special challenges for their participation in international trade. As a result, trade facilitation and the elimination of unnecessary procedural and regulatory barriers to trade are of key importance to them.

To support trade facilitation in the region, officials from the ministries of the economy, trade, finance, energy and customs as well as representatives from the business sectors of these three countries received trade facilitation training from UNECE and OSCE experts on 24-26 August in Dushanbe.

Organized by the UNECE and the OSCE Border Management Staff College this training focused on the use of the UN Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide, a valuable information management and capacity-building tool for trade facilitation implementers. The workshop reviewed the key concepts, principles and benefits of trade facilitation both from the perspective of ratification and implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and from the perspective of the entire supply chain, from ordering through payment as used by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEAFCT). Participants were trained on how to use the Guide in their practical work, based on a number of domains and itineraries covered in the Guide.

Central to the discussions was the readiness of these countries to implement the measures in the WTO TFA (an issue on which UNECE works in the transition economies), as well as the establishment of national trade facilitation committees in compliance with article 23.2 of the WTO TFA and UNECE Recommendation 4.

Tajikistan is in the process of establishing such a committee, based on the experience of its national Single Window interagency working group and with assistance from the international community (notably ITC, GIZ and UNECE). The OSCE Border Management College hosted the workshop as part of its focus on improving security and the economic efficiency of border management, through improvements in key areas as coordinated border management, authorized economic operators, rationalization of document and information exchange, business process analysis, and the Single Window for export and import clearance. The workshop also covered the UNECE’s newly developed guidelines on developing a national trade facilitation strategy. 

Martin Rossmann, Head of the Economic and Environmental Department at the OSCE Office in Tajikistan, noted that, “This workshop will allow government and private business participants to increase their working skills in trade facilitation and better implement international best practices in their daily work.”  Dietmar Jost, one of the authors of the Guide and a trainer at the workshop, stressed that the Guide is a highly valued tool for trade facilitators, with 650,000 page views by more than 100,000 unique users registered in 2014. Mario Apostolov, UNECE Regional Adviser, noted that “Tajikistan’s recent ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is a positive development. The organisation of this workshop in Tajikistan symbolises the excellent spirit of UNECE-OSCE-co-operation in support of trade facilitation in Central Asia and Afghanistan.”

The participants were unanimous in their assessment of the importance of the UN Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide as a very useful tool.

For more information, please contact

Mario Apostolov
Regional Adviser, UNECE Trade
tel.: +41 22 9171134
fax: +41 22 9170037
mob. +41 79 2790936

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