Azerbaijani customs officials greets visitors at port

Easing cross-border trade through peer learning

12 June 2024
ITC News

Experts shared best practices and innovative ideas in customs risk management for better cross-border trade, at an event in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

For seamless trade to flourish, strong customs risk management and integrated border control are critical. This ensures that goods transit smoothly across borders while meeting all legal and regulatory requirements. 

On 3 May, customs and trade facilitation experts from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan participated in a peer learning event. They addressed customs risk management and integrated border control challenges, through shared knowledge and collaboration. 

‘In light of the strategic imperative to bolster connectivity along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor), this collaboration creates pivotal opportunity to advance our mutual aspirations for economic development and regional prosperity,’ said Pierre Bonthonneau, Head of the Trade Facilitation Unit at the International Trade Centre (ITC). 

Collaborative learning for enhanced customs efficiency​  

Participants worked together to reflect on what works and what doesn’t, brainstorm new strategies, and develop plans for enhancing risk management both nationally and regionally. 

The event explored several important topics related to managing customs effectively. These included setting up systems for managing risks at customs, identifying potential risks, creating targeted approaches for inspecting goods, assessing incoming shipments, deciding on enforcement actions, and integrating risk management at the border. 

Study tour at a Trans-Caspian trade route point 

In addition to interactive discussions and shared experiences, the programme included a tour of the International Port of Baku. There, participants learned about customs and logistics procedures at a crucial juncture on the Trans-Caspian trade route.  

The initiative was organized by the EU-funded ITC Ready4Trade Central Asia project in collaboration with the Customs authorities of Central Asia and Azerbaijan.  

‘The first meeting of experts on risk management systems of customs authorities in Central Asia ended successfully,’ said Umida Pirmukhamedova, Adviser of the Chairman of the Customs Committee under Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 

‘This collaboration is expected to streamline customs procedures and reduce the time needed for their completion, thereby improving conditions for international trade.’  

About Ready4Trade Central Asia project: 

The Ready4Trade Central Asia project aims to support the development of intra-regional and international trade in five Central Asian countries. This will be done by enhancing the transparency of cross-border requirements, removing regulatory and procedural barriers, strengthening business capability to comply with trade formalities and standards, as well as by improving cross-border e-commerce. The project is implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in close collaboration with national partners and is financed by the European Union (EU).