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National Trade Facilitation Roadmap for Exports Enhancement and Diversification ‎boosts Tajikistan’s competitiveness and will help in COVID-19 crisis response‎

Over the past few years, Tajikistan has strengthened its efforts to boost its economy and improve its competitiveness in global markets. As a result of wide-ranging regulatory and economic reforms, the country has succeeded in improving its ranking in the Trading Across Borders Index, from position 188 in 2015 to position 141 in 2020. This made Tajikistan one of the top 10 reformers in the World Bank Doing Business Report 2020. These results were achieved thanks to the prioritization of customs clearance of perishable goods exports.

UNECE has been a steadfast partner in this effort and assisted the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in establishing an effective national Coordination Committee on Trade Facilitation (CCTF), and developing and adopting the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap for Exports Enhancement and Diversification. “The development of the Roadmap was mandated by H.E. President Rahmon of the Republic of Tajikistan to lift the country’s export capacity and make cross-border trade easier and faster” Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Abdurahmonzod, said on the occasion of the launch of the Roadmap.

The Roadmap serves as the guiding framework for a comprehensive national trade facilitation reform programme over a five years period (2019-2024) and includes a strategic vision supported by goals and activities, and performance indicators to measure progress against set targets. This   document has been developed as part of the UNECE capacity building project on “Removing regulatory and procedural barriers to trade in the Republic of Tajikistan” at the request of the Tajik Government. It builds on the recommendations of the UNECE Study on Regulatory and Procedural Barriers to Trade (2015), and the findings of the UNECE bi-annual Reports for Sustainable and Digital Trade Facilitation (2017).

The objective of the Roadmap is to reduce the time of import and export by 30%, to remove unnecessary costs for traders, by cutting down the cost to import and export by 30%, and to achieve at least a 15% increase in the volume of exports and a more diversified export base, by the end of 2024. This will be attained through a combination of activities to implement measures including the Category C provisions of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) requiring technical assistance and capacity building. The establishment of a risk management and authorized economic operator scheme, a system for the electronic exchange of documents and for the e-payment of trade transactions, and the completion of the electronic Single Window project, are among the key priorities identified.

The Roadmap streamlines trade facilitation actions across the five following goals: 1) improve the regulatory framework for trade facilitation; 2) reduce the time of customs operations when declaring & releasing goods; 3) improve international road transport; 4) increase the export potential of Tajikistan; and 5) increase the integration of the Tajik economy into global supply chains.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is significantly affecting economies in Central Asia, including Tajikistan. Measures prioritised in the Roadmap, such as automated customs procedures, risk management approaches, and e-payments at border posts, can help mitigate COVID-19 crisis impacts on trade and the economy. The Roadmap will provide continuity to public agencies and business actors in these challenging times and will constitute an important reference for international donors supporting the country’s effort to achieve the SDGs.

The development and adoption of the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap of Tajikistan is the result of a large consultative effort with all trade authorities and actors in the country, led by the CCTF, with UNECE guidance, and in collaboration with international partners, including ITC and UNCTAD. In the context of technical assistance projects funded by the United Nations Development Account and the Russian Federation, UNECE is planning to support Kyrgyzstan and Georgia in developing their National Trade Facilitation Roadmaps in 2020-2021.