The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted the first virtual workshop of 2021 on the topic of border crossing improvement with participation of project managers of the ADB-funded projects – Uran Abdynasyrov of Kyrgyzstan, Parviz Zarifzoda of Tajikistan, Norov Unurtsetseg of Mongolia, and Muhammad Ali Raza Hanjra of Pakistan – who shared lessons of these projects with other CAREC representatives.
“Disruptions caused by the pandemic have re-enforced the significance of regional connectivity for economic resilience and mitigating the impact of shocks,” said the CAREC Institute Director Syed Shakeel Shah, “the CAREC Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring (CPMM) mechanism indicates that a number of border crossing points in CAREC pose serious impediments to cross-border transport and trade… These disruption add prohibitive costs to regional trade, and cause substantial welfare losses in terms of reduced economic activities. This is why the CAREC Institute together with ADB brought together in this workshop the member country experts to promote necessary measures in trade facilitation through knowledge sharing.”
Project focal points provided update on infrastructure upgrade progress at Karamyk, Guliston, Torkham and other border crossing points, and described work conducted on introducing the national single window systems. They pointed out that implementing legislation to regulate the single window environment and relevant inter-agency coordination, also the land acquisition process, and joint customs control proves challenging and time consuming. Mr. Abdynasyrov estimated that in five years, the paper-based business processes might get replaced with the digital approach in Kyrgyzstan.
The workshop continued on 21-22 January with knowledge sharing regarding the single window system development, and the role of development partners, including technical assistance and international instruments for modernizing customs services.