The Ready4Trade Central Asia project, financed by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC), completed a series of awareness-raising workshops for the private sector on a new trade facilitation regulation in Tajikistan.

According to ITC Office in Tajikistan, the workshops were reportedly held across the country in Dushanbe (September 28, 2021), Bokhtar (October 7, 2021) and Khujand (October 21, 2021).

The new chapter of the Customs Code, called the “Authorized Economic Operator” (AEO), provides priority access to companies for customs clearance and control processes to reduce the time and costs of cross-border procedures.

Rustam Abdusalomov an experienced Tajik customs expert and trainer for the workshops states that the AEO will allow companies to “go through the customs procedures and formalities faster and without any additional fees.  Businesses with this status will also be able to choose to go through the customs clearance procedures in their own storage facilities or in open areas”.

The AEO was introduced in Tajikistan in August 2020 and aims to facilitate import, export, and transit procedures while improving international supply chains security in Tajikistan.  It is part of the country’s WTO obligations for the simplification of trade procedures, and contributes to its compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.  The Tajik Customs Service developed the AEO regulation in close cooperation with the ITC.

Pierre Bonthonneau, ITC Trade Facilitation Adviser points out that, “the AEO status helps the Tajik small and medium-sized enterprises to import raw materials and machinery and export their products in a way that will be both easier and faster, thus improving their competitiveness in the regional and international markets”.

The Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Tajikistan, states that, “The introduction of the AEO trade facilitation mechanism in Tajikistan, is a significant milestone that will significantly facilitate import-, export-, and transit procedures; as well as improve international supply chain security in Tajikistan.  Given the many immediate benefits, for Tajik private sector as well as for European companies operating in Tajikistan and the Central Asia market, we are eager to along with‘Ready4Trade Central Asia’, ensure that more businesses make use of this facility.“

Some 50 representatives from the Tajik private sector attended the workshops to learn about the AEO system, the legal status and economic benefits it could afford businesses, as well as how companies could obtain AEO status.

Businesses in Tajikistan have been called to actively use this opportunity and the only thing they need to do to qualify for the status is to conduct the business in a transparent and trustworthy manner.

Zafar Alizoda, the Head of the Khatlon Business Association, expressed that, “the AEO measure looks interesting, we are glad to hear about it, and will surely further study it and take it into account”.

With the project ‘Ready4Trade Central Asia’, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region.  Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs).  The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.