The UNODC – WCO Global Container Control Programme promotes pre-arrival information exchange on cargo among Customs and railway carriers in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

On 19-20 October 2022, the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia jointly with the Revenue Service of Georgia conducted the Fourth Inter-Regional meeting on Pre-Arrival Information Exchange and Cargo Control under the UNODC – WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP) in Kakheti, Georgia.  

The meeting brought together over forty experts from Customs and railway companies from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as well as representatives from WCO and UNODC. The meeting was held in hybrid format, to allow for in-person and remote participation. 

Following opening remarks by the Deputy Chief of the Revenue Service of Georgia, UNODC, WCO and donors, namely Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program, Ms. Naida Chamilova, CCP Regional Programme Coordinator, provided an introductory overview of the CCP program, and the outcomes of previous dialogues on inter-regional information exchange and cargo control. 

WCO international experts Rafał Pryk and Tejo Kusuma presented the WCO initiatives on cargo control with a focus on pre-arrival information exchange mechanisms and advanced import control systems in place, including the digitalized process of pre-loading, pre-arrival, clearance, pre-clearance and post-clearance data exchange in the European Union. Their advantages in terms of protecting the cargo from security threats, enabling the identification of high-risk shipments and facilitating cross-border clearance for legitimate trade were elaborated upon, and specific recommendations provided.     

Thereafter, the national updates on the latest developments on cooperation among Customs authorities, freight carriers, and private sector on pre-arrival information exchange in the region, with a focus on achievements and challenges were presented and discussed during the meeting.

The meeting provided an excellent platform for participants to have an overview of international transport corridors and discuss their efforts in Customs-to-Customs and Railway-to-Customs data exchange on a bilateral and regional level.

It was an important forum to discuss the current progresses made in the region and to summarize common priorities by emphasizing the importance of improved cargo control, trade facilitation and information exchange reflected in the list of recommendations adopted as an outcome document of the meeting.  

The CCP Regional Segments for Southern Caucasus and Central Asia are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the Export Control and Related Border Security Program as well as Global Affairs Canada through its Weapons Threat Reduction Program.

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