Trade facilitation in Central Asia

Project description

Project title: Trade facilitation in Central Asia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Central Asia: Kazakhstan (KAZ), Kyrgyzstan (KGZ), Tajikistan (TAJ), Uzbekistan (UZB)
Lead executing agencies: Ministry of National Economy (KAZ), Ministry of Economy (KGZ), Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (TJK), Ministry of Foreign Trade (UZB)
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

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Complicated processes and red tape are hampering international trade among the four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. These landlocked countries are dependent on costly overland transport for their goods. Inefficient border procedures and time-consuming customs clearance processes prolong the transport time by days or sometimes even weeks. The resulting slow-down in trade processes means higher costs, which particularly impacts small and medium-sized enterprises.

Germany has undertaken to support developing and transition countries in implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which went into effect in February 2017. As members of the WTO, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have committed to simplifying customs procedures and harmonising regulations in the transport sector. Uzbekistan has also declared its aim to implement trade facilitation measures and thus to reduce trade costs.


Trade-oriented companies in Central Asia benefit from cost-cutting measures to facilitate trade.


The project team focuses its work on three areas:

  1. It supports customs authorities in making risk management an operational aspect of customs controls. A risk management system will reduce the number of physical inspections of incoming goods by concentrating on those that exhibit an increased risk of violation of customs regulations. Companies that act in accordance with the law benefit from faster processes.
  2. Selected cross-border transport and transit processes are being streamlined in the four Central Asian states, for example through simplified guarantee systems for transit goods. The result is lower costs for trading companies as they save time at the border crossing.
  3. The project team assists private sector actors in making better use of the trade facilitation and promotion measures. It involves them in National Trade Facilitation Committees where they can discuss their needs. This exchange is designed to ensure that trade facilitation measures and regional services are geared to the needs of businesses, enabling them to lower their trading costs.


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