CAREC Trade Insights and News | Issue 5 | January-March 2023


  Issue no. 5 | January – March 2023



  • Capacity Building on Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) (Tbilisi, Georgia, 20 April 2023)The session will discuss the features, benefits, and importance of MLETR in accelerating digitization of trade. The activity is part of pilot project for MLETR and a collaboration between ADB (through Office of the General Counsel, CAREC trade program, and PSOD Trade and Supply Chain Finance), together with the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
  • National Workshop on Potential CAREC-wide FTA and Capacity Building on Negotiating FTAs for Uzbekistan (2 May 2023, Tashkent, Uzbekistan)The national workshop is aimed at building national consensus in Uzbekistan. It aims to raise awareness among relevant stakeholders and launch broad-based and inclusive discussions with public, private, labor unions, civil society, and others.
  • Central Asian Governments and Private Sector E-Commerce Study Tour to Malaysia and Singapore (15-20 May 2023)Jointly organized by the ADB under the CAREC Program, the United States Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program, the USAID Future Growth Initiative, and USAID Trade Central Asia, the study tour will bring public and private sector representatives from 5 Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to: learn best practices and experiences on e-commerce and digital economy; cultivate e-commerce ecosystems and identify concrete actions to accelerate national and regional e-commerce development in the Central Asia region. 
  • Subregional FTA Capacity Building Activities for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan (May 2023, Almaty, Kazakhstan).  The training intends to provide an overview of substantive, procedural, and strategic aspects to prepare for and successfully complete FTA negotiations.
  • National Workshops on Potential CAREC-wide FTA for Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia (May-June 2023)The national workshops aim to build national consensus in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia, to prepare and pursue negotiations towards a potential CAREC-wide FTA. It will raise awareness among relevant stakeholders and launch broad-based and inclusive discussions.
  • 22nd Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) Meeting (Tbilisi, Georgia, 7-9 June 2023)The annual meeting will bring together heads of Customs from CAREC members to discuss the CCC workplan for 2023-2024 and provide updates on national and regional initiatives of customs agencies, including capacity building on emerging technologies, single window development, and regional transit.
  • Joint Regional Trade Group (RTG) – Customs Cooperation Committee (CCC) Joint Meeting (Tbilisi, Georgia, 12 June 2023)The Joint RTG-CCC Meeting will (i) discuss the implementation progress of customs modernization, trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, digitalization of trade and other cross-cutting initiatives under the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030; (ii) discuss the midterm review of CITA 2030; and (iii) endorse the Trade Sector Report 2023 and Rolling Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) 2023-2025, which will be reported to CAREC Ministers through the Senior Officials’ Meeting on 13-14 June 2023.

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Trade Facilitation, Infrastructure, and International Trade in Central Asian Countries (February 2023)
This working paper analyzes the impact of infrastructure and trade facilitation on imports and exports in five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and outlines how improving hard and soft infrastructure would help boost regional trade and integration. Key recommendation includes to diversify transport, bolster digital infrastructure, and eliminate nontariff barriers, and develop better infrastructure in the region. Read more.
Impact of High Trade Costs and Uncertain Time to Trade on Exports from Five Central Asian Countries (March 2023)
This paper analyzes how trade costs affect exports in five Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It highlights how improving logistics and procedures and boosting digitalization can streamline and promote trade. The paper finds that the uncertainty and high monetary costs that traders face along with remoteness from ports and global markets hold back countries’ exports. Read more.
Geographical Proximity and Trade Impacts in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program Region (March 2023)
This study explores to what extent reducing delays and costs at border crossing points can facilitate bilateral trade flows among CAREC countries. Delays at borders significantly hinder trade flows and that the costs incurred are even more restrictive. However, digitization measures such as electronic sanitary and phytosanitary certification help reduce these delays and costs. Read more
The Impact of COVID-19 Mobility Restrictions on Trade Facilitation at Borders in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Region (December 2022)
This paper investigates the impact of COVID-19 mobility restrictions on the time taken for cargo to clear borders in the CAREC region. Cargo processing time could increase by up to 70% when the most stringent level of mobility restrictions was imposed. Outbound border-crossing points were more affected by measures than inbound points but were more resilient in that impact was short-lived. The study found that both inbound and outbound times increased when mobility restrictions in a trading partner tightened. Read more.


ADB and Korea Customs Service sign Memorandum of Understanding.
On 29 March, ADB’s East Asia Department Director General M. Teresa Kho signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Director General Jin-hee Lee of International Affairs Bureau of Korea Customs Service at a virtual signing ceremony. The MOU aims to formalize the cooperation between two institutions in delivering customs modernization, trade facilitation, and development partnership with CAREC member countries.  It will cover cooperation in various customs-related areas, such as blockchain technology, risk management, single window, cross-border e-commerce, which supports CAREC customs’ aim to accelerate digital trade.
ADB collaborates with the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to ensure that food is safe for consumers and to prevent the spread of pests and diseases in animals and plants.  In November 2021, the STDF published a Guide to help SPS regulators in developing countries use Good Regulatory Practices to improve SPS measures and facilitate safe trade. It is available in English and Russian versions. Read more
ADB Promotes Digitalized Trade Through Regional Outreach Initiatives and Technical Assistance. The Asian Development Bank (ADB)  initiated a series of discussions with select countries—including the PRC and Georgia as pilot CAREC countries—to help them align their regulatory frameworks with international laws that enable paperless trade. In close collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Digital Standard Initiative (DSI), and the UNCITRAL, ADB and the CAREC Program is advocating for the adoption and alignment with UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR). Read more.

The CAREC Institute calls for application for:CAREC Institute Visiting Fellow Program: Chapters for the Third CAREC Institute Research Conference:
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Cofinancing Partners 
CAREC trade activities are supported by Regional Cooperation and Integration FundPeople’s Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation FundUnited Kingdom Fund for Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity, and Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund.