One of the biggest impediments to the integration of the CAREC region and thereby the improvement of its trade competitiveness has been the transit procedures of individual countries. Specific issues have included: (i) varying customs documentation standards; (ii) a lack of adequate information technology infrastructure and interoperable data-sharing systems; (iii) a need for multiple financial guarantees; (iv) arbitrary administrative fees; (iv) insufficient operating hours at customs offices; (v) uncoordinated national authorized economic operator programs; and (v) delays in processing transit traffic crossing borders due to physical inspections and other constraints. In addition, trucking procedures in region are inefficient as a consequence of poorly designed and implemented customs transit regimes. Despite the widespread adoption of the TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention system and existing bilateral agreements, transit movements within the region are still cumbersome, unpredictable, and disjointed.
This technical assistance (TA) addressed these issues by developing a single regional guarantee mechanism to accelerate the movement of goods across borders while reducing the costs, and identified potential options for implementing a pilot customs transit regime along a priority corridor involving Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Specific outputs of the TA related to: (i) the Identification of priority transit corridors, (ii) formulation of a single regional guarantee mechanism, (iii) analysis of the legal and regulatory framework, and (iv) analysis of information and communications technology (ICT) framework and support systems.