At the beginning of February BOMCA invited two EU experts from the Customs Authority of the Republic of Lithuania to facilitate working meetings with key national partners from the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State Customs Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. During the working meetings, Ms. Vida Mickiene and Mr. Rimantas Rackauskas conducted discussions on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and its implementation aspects in Kazakhstan and reviewed the compatibility of the national legislation of Kyrgyzstan with the General Annex of the RKC. Kazakhstan is the only country from the Central Asian region which has acceded to the Convention and they presented their cumulative experience of implementation of its provisions; Kyrgyzstan is carrying out measures to reform and improve the customs legislation for accession.

Altogether, five national working meetings will be organised in the CA region with the aim to assist the CA countries in their preparations for accession to and/or implementation of the RKC. The workshop introduced advanced, effective and trade-friendly customs controls and other advantages of aligning national customs legislation and practices with the General Annex of the Convention and raised awareness among the participating customs authorities regarding the measures to be implemented.

During the workshop in Kazakhstan experts presented the country’s achievements in terms of implementation of the Convention. Taking into account the fact that in June 2009 Kazakhstan became the 60th contracting party of the RKC, the country aspires to continuous improvement of customs procedures and practices: since acceding, Kazakhstan has gradually implemented Convention standards related to transparent and coherent customs procedures and practices, use of a modern approach in risk management, audit methods and efficient use of IT technologies. 

In Kyrgyzstan, the main objectives of the working meeting were to review the national customs legislation and its compatibility with the RKC standards, to improve the knowledge of participants about the Convention and its advantages, and to provide recommendations related to accession. Particular issues of customs procedures such as customs control and declarations processing, procedures of temporary storage of goods, check of goods and customs clearance, and use of IT technologies in Kyrgyzstan were discussed and the relevant legislative documents were evaluated and compared with the General Annex standards. The EU experts recognised that the State Customs Service of the Kyrgyz Republic has a clear potential to accept the General Annex provisions and agreed that the most part of the national legislation is compatible with the Revised Kyoto Convention and that Kyrgyzstan is in a very good position to accede to it.

The benefits of the working meetings were widely recognised by national experts in both countries in terms of positive changes in their knowledge, attitudes and confidence related to Revised Kyoto Convention implementation and accession. Having presented and discussed a variety of presentations on national experiences, the delegates made a commitment to ensuring quality implementation of the RKC as a vital component of trade facilitation in Kazakhstan. In Kyrgyzstan, the experts agreed to pursue their efforts to finalise the process of accession to the Convention. The discussions during the working meeting highlighted the strong level of interest shown by Kyrgyz experts in issues related to the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures. According to Mr. Mirbek Tashtanbekov, Deputy Head of the Legal Department of Kyrgyz Customs, the working meeting significantly enhanced the delegates’ understanding of the RKC provisions, especially the benefits related to accession and implementation. Both Kyrgyz and Kazakh experts underlined that that implementation of the RKC principles will contribute to the effective and efficient clearance of goods and can significantly influence the economic competitiveness of the countries by encouraging investment, development of industry, and participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in international trade.

The participants highly appreciated the communication model of the meeting and the “peer-to-peer” approach used by the EU experts allowed participants to become fully engaged in the topic and hold lively discussions supported by practical examples. On behalf of their respective administrations, the delegates greatly welcomed this BOMCA initiative and expressed their sincere gratitude.

As a result of conducting a series of national working meetings in Central Asian countries, comparative analysis reports will be developed by experts showing the compatibility of national customs legislations with the provisions of the RKC and related measures planned or already implemented by the CA customs administrations. In the case of Kazakhstan, the comparative analysis will reflect the progress achieved in the course of implementation of the provisions of the RKC following accession. All the reports will be presented during a regional workshop which will be held in Kazakhstan in 2017.