On 25 November 2015 the European Commission adopted the proposal to grant inclusion in the extended Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) to Kyrgyzstan. After consideration by the Council and the European Parliament, the EU regulation granting it was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 26 January 2016, and came into effect the following day. The decision of the European Union to grant GSP+ status to the Kyrgyz Republic opened up new potential in economic relations and offered opportunities for Kyrgyzstan to increase and diversify its exports and strengthen its economy. The GSP+ means full removal of tariffs on more than 6,000 product categories, Kyrgyz exporters are now able supply to the European Union at a zero tariff rate agricultural products such as fruits, processed fruits (canned fruits, juice), dried fruits (walnuts, almonds, pistachios), food products, tobacco, textiles, felt products, clothing (including leather), and carpets. 

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    Between 14-16 March BOMCA Technical Mission experts visited Astana to evaluate the compatibility of the existing customs officer training system with World Customs Organization (WCO) professional standards and recommendations of the European Commission Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD).

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    From 14-16 March BOMCA-invited training experts conducted a national workshop on human resources management and financial planning and control for relevant national experts from the customs, border and phytosanitary agencies of Turkmenistan. The EU expert team consisting of senior management representatives from the State Revenue Service and the State Border Service of Latvia brought their knowledge and expertise to share with Turkmen partners.

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    A national workshop on terrorist identification and profiling was held in Bishkek between 14-16 March, gathering professionals from the State Security Service, the Ministry of Interior and the Border Service dealing with identification and profiling issues.

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    Between 3-10 March the International Donor Coordination meetings took place in Astana and Bishkek with the main purpose being to get a better understanding of donor interventions in border management area in these countries and align those interventions with the countries’ specific and strategic needs. The meeting presented another opportunity to exchange information between donors, government beneficiaries and other stakeholders involved in border management and initiate proposals for effective coordination mechanisms. 

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    BOMCA is introducing a new effective learning tool that could be used in education and retraining – distance learning system. For this purpose BOMCA technical experts visited Kyrgyzstan and presented the system, its capabilities and advantages to national partners – State Border Service and Military Armed Forces Institute.  

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    On February 27-28 a Regional Workshop for border guarding and customs training institutions of Central Asian countries was held in Bishkek. The event gathered delegates from all five Central Asian countries to discuss joint approach and continuous cooperation of training institutions towards the development of the unique, harmonised, and efficient training system for border guards and customs officers in the Central Asian region. The workshop was facilitated by the experts from the State Border Guard of Latvia and Riga Technical University. This BOMCA activity aims to encourage and support cooperation among the training institutions in Central Asia. 

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    In mid-February BOMCA expert team visited Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and conducted workshops for the national partners from IT department of customs services.  In welcoming remarks, the Head of Operations Unit of IT Department of Kyrgyz Customs highlighted the significance of growing cross-border e-commerce and the need for Customs to adequately prepare to address issues stemming therefrom through the exchange of views and information. In the same vein, he noted the importance of the use of modern technologies in the Customs environment and European experience in implementation of several electronic services to improve its business processes. 

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