In a significant stride towards streamlining transit procedures and fostering international trade development, ROCB Europe hosted a pivotal meeting on October 3, 2023. The meeting focused on the testing phase of an improved transit system and the General Data Exchange within the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC). The CAREC initiative, backed by the Asian Development Bank, has garnered the participation of key stakeholders, including customs authorities from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Georgia.
The primary objective of this gathering was to simplify transit processes, ultimately creating an enabling environment for the advancement of international trade and expediting the flow of goods across national borders.
Given the strategic positioning of the participating nations along international trade corridors, the importance of reinforcing international collaboration between customs agencies, streamlining transit operations, and enhancing overall efficiency was underscored. It was further highlighted that productive discussions had taken place earlier in the year in Baku, where the heads of customs services of Middle Corridor countries had deliberated on transit simplification, the adoption of paperless customs procedures, and the benefits of cooperation within the CAREC framework.
The event featured video messages from key figures, including Ms. Lyaziza Sabyrova, Regional Head of the Regional Cooperation and Integration Division of the Central and West Asia Department of ADB, and Antonio Lo Parco, Head of the WCO Regional Office for Capacity Building in Baku. Both emphasized the pivotal role of transit simplification in driving international trade growth.
As a significant outcome of the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the customs authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, marking the commencement of the test phase for the improved transit system and general information exchange within CAREC.
Over the course of the three-day event, participants engaged in presentations and discussions centered around the significance of developing efficient transit regimes, enhancing transit capacity, and ultimately boosting trade within the CAREC region. This gathering serves as a milestone in the ongoing efforts to facilitate cross-border trade and economic cooperation among nations in the Central Asian region.