Several trucks parking in front of a warehouse.

Facilitating cross-border trade in Central Asia

Trade facilitation in Central Asia (TFCA)

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country

    Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2024 to 2026

  • Other Stakeholders

    Customs authorities: State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan, State Customs Service of the Kyrgyz Republic, Customs Authority of the Republic of Tajikistan, state implementing partners: State Customs Service of Turkmenistan and the Customs Committee of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the authorities responsible for plant protection and quarantine, health and veterinary controls in the five partner countries.

    Other implementation partners in the five partner countries are the professional associations of the trade and logistics sector, including customs brokers (i.e. Union of International Road Carriers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Association of International Road Carriers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Association of Customs Brokers of the Republic of Uzbekistan). In addition, the module plans to collaborate with WiLAT and TLP, two regional sectoral networks for the trade and logistics sector. Finally, there are plans to cooperate with professional associations and individual trade and logistics companies from Germany and the EU, such as the Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) and the European Logistics Association (ELALOG), as well as with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and e-Business (UN/CEFACT).

  • Products and expertise

    Economic development and employment

Participants of the 10th regional NTFC Meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, pose for a group photo.


The Central Asian countries participate in regional and global trade to a limited extent only. The regional project TFCA implemented by GIZ has identified several problems hindering the development of the export-import potential of the countries of the region.

Most of the countries of Central Asia are in a trade deficit. The lack of competitiveness is due to high trade costs resulting from a landlocked location, limited transport links and complex trade and transit procedures. Furthermore, freight forwarding companies derive little benefit from the transcontinental trade corridors between China and the European market. Pronounced protectionist measures taken by the states of the Central Asian region to protect national economic systems from external competition, leading to inefficient production, low employment, and low trade turnover in the region and to higher costs for imported goods.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical situation, Central Asian governments are striving to establish alternative trade routes across the Caspian Sea and expand trade relations within the region, with the Caucasus countries and with Turkey.

Despite reforms, there is still a lack of successful processes that are coordinated among the countries, especially in terms of digitalisation and trade logistics including changes between means of transport.


The Central Asian countries have concepts and expertise, particularly in the area of digitalisation, to improve cross-border trade along the regional trade routes.

Employees of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan stand in front of several screens at the NTFC meeting in Uzbekistan.


The project provides digitalisation training to state institutions involved in cross-border trade. Employees learn to align digital solutions with international standards and to enable regional interfaces and data exchange along trade routes.

Trade facilitation measures contribute to faster and more straightforward procedures along regional trade routes and promote dialogue on the cross-border harmonisation of trade processes in the region.

The project trains and advises transport and logistics companies in the Central Asian countries to organise their activities more efficiently and facilitate the movement of goods.

Last update: January 2024

Additional information