Building a ‘single window’ for trade in Turkmenistan

16 October 2020

The government signed with UN agencies an agreement to build an electronic portal for trade procedures and documents in the Central Asian nation

Monument of independence in Ashgabat
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Monument of independence in Ashgabat / ©michalknitl

Turkmenistan will work with UNCTAD and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to set up a single window system for trade in the nation, located on the ancient Silk Road trading route between Asia and Europe.

The county’s foreign affairs ministry and UN agencies signed a four-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 14 October.  

A single window would allow importers and exporters to electronically submit all regulatory documents in one portal, saving them time and reducing the costs of transactions.

The result will be an improved business environment that will help the country recover quicker from the COVID-19 crisis and improve its position in the global economy, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

“A single window will greatly facilitate trade and improve the transparency and efficiency of business operations in Turkmenistan,” Dr. Kituyi said during a virtual signing ceremony.

“It will help spur private sector development and create more and better jobs opportunities for Turkmenistan’s population,” he added during the event with the country’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister, Rashid Meredov, and UNDP’s director for Europe, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger.

Beyond customs clearance

The MoU will build on the work UNCTAD has been doing since 2019 to help Turkmenistan modernize its customs clearance procedures thanks to the organization’s automated management system for customs data, ASYCUDA World, which will form the basis for the single window portal.

The portal will electronically link customs clearance with all other regulatory procedures, including the request, delivery and monitoring of certificates, licenses and supporting documents needed to bring goods into and out of the country.

During the signing ceremony, Mr. Meredov said the MoU will help Turkmenistan achieve its national development strategies, which include the digitization of trade and transport processes.

Ms. Spoljaric Egger added that the agreement builds on past fruitful collaboration between the parties but is forward-looking.

“It will help to strengthen UNDP's partnership with the government of Turkmenistan and UNCTAD to continue support in the area of digitalization of customs services,” she said.