Customs officials from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan met to finalize the draft CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) agreement and discuss each country’s domestic requirements for possible signing of the agreement within the year.
CATS and Information Common Exchange (ICE) is a harmonized electronic system for the control of movement of goods in transit through CAREC member states. It is a risk-based system that uses a single and digital transit document, and offers comprehensive guarantees. CATS is expected to reduce cost and time for transit operators and expedite transport of goods to and from the European market. The implementation of CATS/ICE is a priority activity under the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and its three-year Rolling Strategic Action Plan 2018-2020.
Ying Qian, director, Public Management, Financial Sector and Regional Cooperation Division, East Asia Department, Asian Development Bank A(DB) updated the meeting on the status of implementation of the proposed CATS/ICE system as well as the major revisions in the agreement following series of trilateral consultations held among participating countries.
Mikhail Perihrishvili, adviser, Georgia Revenue Service, also shared his country’s experience in its accession to the Convention on Common Transit Procedures, its features and components, challenges and lessons learned, as well as status of implementation.
Members of the two technical working groups from Customs Control Facilitation ad Information and Communications Technology also reviewed the technical aspects of the CATS software specification, guarantees mechanism, and implementation procedures.
As a side event, the Customs Department of the Georgia Revenue Service organized site visits through some port areas, including the border-crossing point from Sarpi (Turkey) to Batumi (Georgia), Customs Clearance Zone of Batumi, and Batumi seaport.
The meeting was supported by ADB regional technical assistance special fund, through the Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in CAREC project.