Heads and senior customs officials representing the 11 CAREC countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—attended the meeting. Experts from World Customs Organization and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe also participated.
The Government of Turkmenistan hosted the two-day meeting, which was co-chaired by Dovlet Bayryyev, deputy chairman of Turkmenistan State Customs Service and Ying Qian, director, Public Management, Financial Sector and Regional Cooperation Division, East Asia Department, Asian Development Bank.
The meeting focused discussions on
(i) outcomes of the Inaugural Meeting of the Regional Trade Group (RTG) and the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), both held in Bangkok, Thailand in June 2018;
(ii) the need to review the Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) priority areas to align with the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 and respond to trends and developments in the evolving trade landscape; and
(iii) the need to review the CCC terms of reference (TOR) to enhance coordination and cooperation with other stakeholders such as other trade-related agencies, other CAREC sectoral bodies (particularly the RTG), and the private sector (particularly the CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarder Associations (CFCFA), the traders association, business and chambers of commerce).
Customs representatives from each CAREC country also provided updates on the CCC priority areas, as well as ongoing customs-related initiatives at the national level, including development of a single-window risk management system, the Regional Improvement of Border Services; implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement; and new customs legislation.
At the end of the meeting, participants 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.
The meeting was followed by an open and constructive dialogue between CCC and CFCFA. They discussed areas of strengthening the cooperation including development of freight forwarder standards to meet the requirements of customs formalities, pilot of corridor routes, and authorized economic operators.