First Cross-Border Transport Agreement Signed under CAREC
Expected to boost trade between the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan
The Kyrgyz Republic’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Kubanychbek Mamaev and Tajikistan’s Minister of Transport and Communications Olimjon Boboev signed the first cross-border transport agreement (CBTA) under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program on 2 December 2010. This milestone is expected to promote bilateral and regional trade.
The CBTA aims to facilitate the flow of people and goods across the borders of these two countries by addressing obstacles such as poorly equipped border posts; excessive and expensive documentation in customs, immigration, and quarantine; and road permit quotas that restrict competition and slow trade.
These obstacles significantly increase travel time. Vehicles spend an average of 12 hours at border points along CAREC’s Corridor 5, which runs from the People’s Republic of China through the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan. They take 6 hours waiting to reach the checkpoint, 4 hours undergoing customs inspection, and 2 hours at border checkpoints.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President—Operations 1 Xiaoyu Zhao, who was present at the signing ceremony, said, “We hope this landmark event will make it easier for people and products to cross borders, boost trade, support economic growth, and promote regional cooperation.”
The CBTA between the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan was finalized following five meetings between the two countries since negotiations started in May 2009. The two governments are expected to ratify the agreement in the first half of 2011 with a view to begin implementation shortly thereafter.
Under the agreement, both countries are expected to improve cross–border infrastructure and facilities, simplify and harmonize cross-border procedures, and ensure that all officials working at the border posts are well informed and trained.
Founded in 1997, CAREC is a partnership of 10 countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—and six multilateral institutions: ADB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001.