Regional: Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
The TA aims to support the continuation of customs reforms and modernization efforts undertaken by Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries as agreed by the Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC). Specifically, the TA aims to: (i) strengthen customs and trade facilitation measures and (ii) implement enhanced cooperation with the private sector.
McKenzie, Rosalind Y.
East Asia Department
Request for information
- Technical Assistance
- Industry and trade
|Project Name||Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program|
|Country / Economy||Regional
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Technical Assistance
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Partnerships
|Sector / Subsector||
Industry and trade / Industry and trade sector development
|Gender Equity and Mainstreaming||No gender elements|
|Description||The TA aims to support the continuation of customs reforms and modernization efforts undertaken by Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries as agreed by the Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC). Specifically, the TA aims to: (i) strengthen customs and trade facilitation measures and (ii) implement enhanced cooperation with the private sector.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||Trade Facilitation is one of the four priority areas within the CAREC 2020 strategic framework. ADB assistance has significantly enhanced trade facilitation in CAREC countries. However, it is necessary to continue and deepen customs modernization and trade facilitation reforms.|
|Impact||Smooth flow of goods and people within the CAREC region improved|
|Description of Outcome||Smooth flow of goods and people within the CAREC region improved (CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy 2020)a|
|Progress Toward Outcome||TA is on its second year of implementation and is taking into consideration recent developments including the endorsement of CAREC 2030 strategy and the entry into force of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in February 2017.|
|Description of Project Outputs||
Trade facilitation measures at CAREC customs strengthened
Trade facilitation measures through enhanced cooperation with private sector implemented
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)||
In 2016, the TA supported the organization of 15th CAREC Customs Committee (CCC) Meeting on 21 September 2016 in Singapore attended by representatives from 9 countries. At the meeting, the CCC agreed to pilot the customs information exchange, CAREC Advanced Transit System. To support private sector engagement, the 2nd Joint Meeting of CCC-CAREC Federation of Carriers and Forwarders Association (CFCFA) was held back-to-back in 22 September 2016 where the joint meeting agreed on the participation of the private sector in the implementation of pilot projects of CCC.
In 2017, the following activities were undertaken:
(1) WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) workshop in May 2017 in Seoul, Republic of Korea - which also provided an opportunity to conduct a meeting among established National Committees on Trade Facilitation (NCTFs) of CAREC countries.
(2) 16th CAREC Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) Meeting on 21 September 2017 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, attended by representatives from 11 CAREC countries. The CCC agreed to pilot the information common exchange (ICE), CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) in AZE, GEO and KAZ in 2018; support the implementation of WTO TFA and the formulation of a new CAREC Trade Strategy. Inter-sessionally, a trilateral agreement among the CATS/ICE pilot countries has been drafted to implement the pilot activities.
(3) 3rd Joint Meeting of CCC-CAREC Federation of Carriers and Forwarders Association (CFCFA) on 23 September 2017, Dushanbe. The joint meeting agreed on enhancing collaboration between customs authorities and the private sector particularly in the conduct of the ICE and CATS pilots, implementation of TFA and the finalization of CFCFA transport standards compliant with international standards. The CCC endorsed their workplan, including to: (i) pilot-test a regional transit regime called the CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) and an information common exchange (ICE) mechanism; (ii) implement the WTO TFA; and (iii) develop a new strategy under the framework of CAREC 2030.
(4) CAREC Workshop on Trade and Trade Facilitation Reforms - WTO TFA and Consolidated Trade Agenda 12-13 December, Bangkok to deliberate on the (i) outcomes of ADB study on the readiness of CAREC countries in implementing the TFA and the next steps and (ii) structure of the integrated trade policy and trade facilitation agenda under the CAREC 2030 strategic framework which was endorsed in October 2017.
In 2018, a series of consultations were held to deliberate on the approach and contents of a proposed CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 as well as the development of a three-year rolling strategic action plan (RSAP) 2018-2020. The consultations solicited feedback, comments, and recommendation on the new strategy for trade (i.e., CITA 2030) and the role and linkages among sectoral bodies, particularly between the CCC and the newly established Regional Trade Group.
International Customs Technology Expert, International Trade Facilitation Specialist, National Trade Facilitation Program Manager, and National Trade Facilitation Coordinator were recruited.
The TA has on its first two years of implementation achieved the following:
-completed a draft of a CATS/ICE Trilateral Agreement for pilot countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan); a review of the workplans of the legal and regulatory, risk management, and information technology (IT) working groups; and a roundtable meeting with insurance companies to discuss options for transit guarantee mechanism under the proposed CATS;
- delivered two regional workshops on WTO TFA and a meeting of National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) and a consultation paper on the assessment of the CAREC members readiness to implement the TFA;
- delivered a targeted training for Mongolian customs officers in the areas of risk management and supported the joint customs control initiative with PRC;
- technical support to the information and communication technology (ICT) roadmap of the State Customs Service of Uzbekistan;
- delivered subregional and national consultations and a paper for the development of CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA);
- provided technical expertise and support on trade facilitation issues at the inaugural meeting of the Regional Trade Group; and
- supported two annual joint meetings of customs and the private sector (i.e., CCC and the CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarder Associations).
The TA's implementation leveraged on the outputs achieved and related activities under regional technical assistance projects funded by Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR). Some costs savings were realized under the current TA.
In January 2018, the new customs code of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) entered into force. To ensure consistency of the CATS/ICE Trilateral Agreement with the EAEU customs code and technical feasibility and procedural compliance with Kazakhstan's system, the TA activities to pilot ICE and CATS will be pushed for implementation in 2019.
At the 17th CCC Meeting in September 2018, the Meeting agreed to amend the CCC priority areas recognizing global trends and development and evolving role of customs and authorities. The CCC also agreed to update its TOR, including its objectives and scope of work, in line with the implementation of the CITA 2030 and RSAP 2018-2020.
An ADB Inter-subregional Forum on Enhanced Implementation of WTO TFA on 30-31 October 2018 and a workshop to develop CAREC countries implementation roadmap for WTO TFA on 29 October 2018 are being organized jointly with CAREC Institute, WTO, WCO and relevant partners.
In January 2019, a subregional workshop on the application of customs related provision of the WTO TFA as well as discussions on CATS/ICE agreement was held. The MOU for pilot implementation of CATS moved closer to finalization, with participating countries actively identifying the necessary internal procedures required for signing of the Agreement.
A third workshop on the CATS/ICE Pilot Test was held in April 2019, in Nursultan, Kazakhstan to (i) help finalize the draft trilateral agreement documentation; and (ii) develop a signing schedule for the Agreement following countries' respective domestic processes. Workshop attendees included customs officials and representatives from transit and insurance companies. Members of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Risk Management (RM) Working Groups met separately to discuss outstanding issues related to customs control procedures, development of the ICE prototype, and terms of reference of the two technical working groups established for CATS/ICE implementation. A roundtable discussion was also organized among insurance companies to discuss various options for a transit guarantee mechanism.
In June 2019, the 18th CCC Meeting convened in Tashkent, Uzbekistan: key outcomes included 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 CATS/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. An Uzbekistan State Customs Committee concept was presented 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.
The final text of the CATS/ICE Agreement was agreed at a workshop in July 2019, in Batumi, Georgia, between customs agencies of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. 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. Site visits were organized through port areas in Batumi, including the local border-crossing point from Turkey to Georgia; the Customs Clearance Zone of Batumi; and Batumi seaport
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design||Extensive consultations were conducted with various stakeholders including customs and SPS agencies, private sector such as carrier and forwarder associations, and development partners.|
|During Project Implementation||To promote synergy with other regional and global initiatives, experts from World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, Korea Customs Services, UNESCAP, USAID, GIZ and International Finance Corporation, among others, were invited to participate in the TA activities.|
|Consulting Services||The consultants will be engaged on an individual basis to provide 12 person-months of international and 24 person-months of national consultant services under the technical assistance (TA).|
|Responsible ADB Officer||McKenzie, Rosalind Y.|
|Responsible ADB Department||East Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||Public Mgt, Financial Sector and Regional Coop Division, EARD|
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
|Concept Clearance||15 Apr 2016|
|Fact Finding||22 Aug 2016 to 24 Aug 2016|
|Approval||31 Aug 2016|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||30 Sep 2019|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|31 Aug 2016||-||31 Aug 2016||31 Aug 2018||29 Feb 2020||11 Jun 2020|
|Financing Plan/TA Utilization||Cumulative Disbursements|
|1,000,000.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||1,000,000.00||17 Jun 2022||931,007.87|
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|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program: Technical Assistance Completion Report||TA Completion Reports||Dec 2020|
|Implementation of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program: Technical Assistance Report||Technical Assistance Reports||Aug 2016|
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|Tender Title||Type||Status||Posting Date||Deadline|
|TRADE FACILITATION COORDINATOR (National)||Individual - Consulting||Closed||06 Jun 2018||08 Jun 2018|
|Trade Facilitation Specialist (International)||Individual - Consulting||Closed||13 Sep 2017||19 Sep 2017|
|Customs Information Technology Expert (International)||Individual - Consulting||Closed||13 Sep 2017||26 Sep 2017|
|Trade Facilitation Program Manager||Individual - Consulting||Closed||06 Sep 2017||12 Sep 2017|
|TRADE FACILITATION COORDINATOR (National)||Individual - Consulting||Closed||04 Aug 2017||10 Aug 2017|
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