Workshop on Effective Implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement

15 Jan - 16 Jan 2019; Baku, Azerbaijan

With participation of delegates from the State Customs and Revenue Services of CAREC member countries, and with resource persons from World Trade Organization (WTO), World Customs Organization, UNCTAD, General Administration of China Customs, and the Asian Development Bank, the CAREC Institute has organized the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implementation workshop on 15-16 January 2019 in Baku.

The workshop aimed to accelerate implementation of the WTO TFA provisions with a focus on introducing specific features and provisions of the TFA, harmonization of legislative and regulatory frameworks, formulation of relevant preliminary action plans, and experience-sharing on the vitality of interagency cooperation at the border crossing points.

The workshop built on results of the December 2017 workshop held in Bangkok where CAREC countries indicated the need to prepare action plans to implement immediate commitments (category A) and prioritize their capacity building needs, and October 2018 workshop titled “World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement: Roadmap for CAREC Countries” where member representatives learned new approaches to overcome the implementation challenges, and participated in knowledge sharing on the implementation of TFA both at the national and regional levels.

About 45 officials from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan participated in the workshop.

Resource speakers from ADB, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, WCO, and General Administration of People’s Republic of China Customs, shared expertise on the features of selected TFA provisions, including articles on Advance Ruling, Authorized Economic Operators, and Coordinated Border Management and Transit.

Country representatives also shared the status of their respective National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), and were guided to formulate preliminary action plan to institutionalize their respective NCTFs, as well as improve coordination among government agencies involved.

Regional transit experts also shed light on the options and opportunities to effectively implement transit regimes in the CAREC countries. Participating countries of the CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) Trilateral Agreement discussed the revised text, pending issues, and proposed schedule for the CATS/Information Common Exchange program, with the view to finalize the trilateral agreement this year.