Asian Development Bank (ADB) chaired several consultation sessions of the Customs Cooperation Committee.
The meetings, led by ADB Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, Central and West Asia Department Director Vicky Tan and Financial Sector and Regional Cooperation Division Director Ying Qian, confirmed the continued relevance of the CAREC 2020 strategy and the role of trade facilitation in helping achieve the 2020 target.
CAREC has been helpful in modernizing customs--implementing joint customs control (JCC) and single window at certain borders--and acceding to the Revised Kyoto Convention.
Participants proposed measures to further broaden the CAREC trade facilitation agenda and improve private sector involvement.
These include a mechanism for results monitoring and member countries' greater ownership of the CAREC strategy, more customs cooperation and information exchange, a shift from national to regional single windows, advisory services, and equipping the border crossing points.
A risk-based single transit guarantee mechanism and a customs information exchange mechanism were also discussed. The proposed guarantee mechanism is being formulated to become a more affordable and accessible alternative. In designing an information exchange mechanism, meanwhile, "thinking big, starting small, and scaling fast" was emphasized.
Moving forward, an umbrella technical assistance is in the pipeline to implement trade facilitation initiatives. Participants expressed interest in developing an electronic manifest and a central server that controls all information, and continuing JCC expert-level meetings, implementation of authorized economic operator program, and capacity building for CAREC customs.
Seven CAREC member countries attended the meeting: Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.