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UNECE expands its support in Kyrgyzstan on trade facilitation for greater regional integration

Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked transition economy, like other Central Asian countries. According to the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business report, the cost for documentary, domestic transport and border formalities for one export shipment is USD 590. Reductions in time and cost can contribute to improving export competitiveness and market access regionally and globally. However, the 2017 UNECE Regional Report on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation shows that there is wide scope for improvement to untap this potential in Kyrgyzstan, as the rate of implementation of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures is below 40%, compared to an average of 69% in the UNECE region.

UNECE is supporting Kyrgyzstan in its effort to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks and build local capacity to play a bigger role in regional trade. Jointly with the Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan and the Eurasian Economic Commission, UNECE is conducting a series of workshops targeted at various stakeholders including government officials and traders, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs.

Based on the recommendations from the 2015 study on “Regulatory and Procedural Barriers to Trade in Kyrgyzstan”, UNECE is assisting the country to meet their obligations under the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, which entered into force in February 2017. Highlighting the progress of Kyrgyzstan in this area, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Aidin Sharsheev said “Kyrgyzstan, as a landlocked country, faces problems with expensive logistics infrastructure. According to different expert estimates, the cost of container transportation across the border in the least developed countries is 43% higher than in countries with the most developed transport infrastructure.  In order to coordinate the activities of state bodies and other organizations on the simplification of procedures of foreign trade and foreign trade transportation the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic approved the Council on Trade Facilitation in the Kyrgyz Republic by resolution No. 435, 18 July 2017”.

The ultimate goal of the UNECE support is to strengthen the capacity of national trade facilitation institutions in the Kyrgyz government and the trading community and to integrate the Agreement’s key provisions into national policies, legislation and regulations, and support the country’s better integration into regional and global value chains.

The workshops in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad should improve the know-how of trade ministry officials, customs officials, the traders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and women entrepreneurs on supply chain management, business process analysis, and e-business tools like Single Window development that can be used to submit import-export documents for regulatory purposes.

The interventions are also designed to build and retain local capacity. A group of selected individuals are being trained as trainers to transfer the knowledge to others and meet the knowledge-gap required to uptake international standards and tools. More than 40 UNECE policy recommendations and over 440 technical standards of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and e-Business (UN/CEFACT) are available free of charge, including the online knowledge platform, the Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide (http://tfig.unece.org/).  

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