UNCTAD and Kazakhstan recently launched a new project to align the country's customs procedures with international standards and adapt to the conditions of its recent membership of the World Trade Organization.
The project was launched in Astana on 2 December immediately after the country's official accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). It will contribute to the implementation of the new presidential strategy-called "One Hundred Concrete Steps"-aimed at positioning Kazakhstan among the world's top economies.
It will also ensure that the country's customs procedures are in line with the Eurasian Economic Union's rules for the electronic declaration of goods traded within the customs union. The project is one example of how UNCTAD is assisting Kazakhstan in adapting to the conditions of its new membership to the WTO, particularly in the context of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. UNCTAD is also working with the country to improve its competition policies and accounting standards.
UNCTAD will help the Ministry of Finance and the State Revenue Committee of Kazakhstan modernize its customs clearance procedures by installing the newest version of its integrated customs management system, known as ASYCUDA World.
As a first step, UNCTAD has trained two groups of Kazakh customs and IT experts this month in Geneva on how to use ASYCUDA World and adapt it to their national needs.
Modernizing customs procedures in line with international standards will help to increase government revenue, strengthen the country's transit transport potential (it is the world's largest landlocked country) and improve inter-agency controls at the borders.
ASYCUDA World will provide a basis for other electronic government process, such as a single window system that would require economic operators to submit regulatory documents only once.
Government officials began discussing the project with the Secretary General of UNCTAD at the Astana Economic Forum in 2014, when the country was in the process of joining the WTO. The Republic of Kazakhstan formally became the 162nd WTO member on 30 November 2015.
UNCTAD's integrated customs management system has been successfully used in 95 countries, but this will be the first time in the Eurasian region.