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Trade Facilitation in Central Asia
OECD
2023.11.28
Central Asia‘s trade performance has displayed remarkable resilience to recent economic shocks. Nevertheless, the region’s dependence on a limited number of export commodities and a narrow range of trading partners exposes it to significant risks. Central Asian governments are therefore prioritising improved connectivity to integrate better into global value chains, reduce geographical disadvantages, and increase imports and exports. Trade facilitation plays a pivotal role in achieving these goals by reducing trade costs and fostering integration. However, Central Asia still faces substantial challenges, and, despite significant improvements in recent years, it falls behind most of the regions covered by the OECD‘s Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFI). This report takes stock of TFI progress in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, presents preliminary results for Turkmenistan for the first time, and showcases areas of TFI improvement. It also evaluates remaining trade barriers and provides recommendations to for trade facilitation reforms, including the need to prioritise trade community feedback to streamline procedures, digitalise and harmonise standards, and implement systemic border agency co-operation mechanisms. A co-ordinated approach to improving trade facilitation across the region could reduce trade costs substantially, lifting both trade turnover and growth.