Customs officials from 11 CAREC countries, Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials, staff, and consultants participated in the meeting, together with international organizations including the Border Management Programme in Central Asia, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, and the United States Agency for International Development.
Key outcomes of the Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) meeting include endorsement of (i) the CCC 2019–2021 work plan under the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 3-year rolling strategic action plan 2019–2021; (ii) the CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) and Information Common Exchange (ICE) pilot project, with launching of the pilot expected in December 2019; (iii) enhanced collaboration between the CCC and the CAREC Regional Trade Group; and (iii) continued support to enhance national implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The CCC expressed support for the Uzbekistan State Customs Committee concept for an Integrated Information Exchange System for the CAREC region, which would help CAREC countries further develop cooperation among custom services, facilitate trade, and modernize customs procedures.
Progress to finalize the draft CATS/ICE Agreement between customs administration of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan was presented. The CATS/ICE pilot project is expected to commence in December 2019.
The CCC also agreed to (i) intensify efforts to develop and implement effective authorized economic operator (AEO) systems; (ii) continue support to the ongoing Joint Customs Control initiative between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Mongolia and replicate this model in other CAREC border-crossing points; and (iii) support identification and preparation of trade facilitation investment projects to improve border services and develop single windows, particularly those identified in the rolling strategic action plan 2019–2021.
The CCC meeting was supported by ADB regional technical assistance special fund, through the Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in CAREC project.