A seminar and a high-level roundtable focusing on “Trade Facilitation in the Digital Economy” concluded years of collaboration between UNECE and the Kyrgyz Economic University (KEU). Aimed at building the capacity of local exerts, the UNECE project titled “Strengthening the capacity of the Kyrgyzstan National Trade Facilitation Council to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement” yielded extremely positive results. Over 20 per cent of measures outlined in the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap of the Kyrgyz Republic 2021-2025, launched in July 2021, were implemented in the course of the first year, with another 30 per cent of activities ongoing.
This was the third international seminar where two training modules on “Cross-border e-commerce” and “Intra- and extra- regional cross-border trade” were presented to government officials, private sector representatives and academia. All six modules presented during three seminars are based on recommendations, e-business standards and guidelines developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and resources from other international organizations, while emphasizing local practices, regulations, and private sector needs.
Integrated into the university curriculum and run by its newly established Competence Center for Trade Facilitation at M. Ryskulbekov Kyrgyz Economic University, this online course will become available for students, policy makers, business representatives and any interested parties from the Kyrgyz Republic and neighboring countries. As outlined in the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap, training of 400 trade facilitation experts by 2025 is expected to contribute to sustainable and long-term capacity building of the Kyrgyz Republic and other Central Asian countries as well as guide successful implementation of World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Following the seminar, a high-level roundtable delved into the discussion on digital economy and cross-border paperless trade, where the importance of the Competence Center for Trade Facilitation and the role of training to implement the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap was highlighted yet again. Moreover, representatives of universities from the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, among others, expressed strong interest in university-level collaboration and experience sharing.
The high-level roundtable was opened by the representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and the Ministry of Education and Science, Eurasian Economic Commission’s Minister Sergei Glazyev, Director of UNECE’s Economic Cooperation and Trade Division Ms. Elisabeth Tuerk, Head of UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Munawwar Alam and Rector of KEU Mr. Almaz Kadyralyev.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Tuerk expressed UNECE’s readiness “to support the Kyrgyz Republic on advancing a wide range of trade and economic development issues” and highlighted the “digital” angle of the roundtable which is “well aligned with the topic of upcoming 70th Commission session focusing on “Digital and green transformations for sustainable development in the UNECE region”. Mr. Alam highlighted that “smart trade requires smart standardization” emphasizing that “blockchain technology could make international trade smarter – and smart standardization can only happen through cooperation”. Minister Glazyev congratulated the Competence Center for Trade Facilitation for developing the modules, stating that “the educational process is now at the focus of Eurasian Economic Commission”. Finally, Mr. Kadyraliev expressed his appreciation to UNECE for “support over the past years and opportunity to contribute to advancing international trade through training of highly qualified experts”.
The success of the project led KEU to extending its cooperation on joint educational programs and signing Memoranda of Understanding with the following organizations:
- International Trade Center
- State Enterprise "Single Window Centre for Foreign Trade"
- Association of Carriers and Logistics of the Kyrgyz Republic
- L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University.
This cooperation will allow for continuous improvement of education quality, expansion of expert base and implementation of the priorities outlined in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Kyrgyz Republic until 2040. Furthermore, it will form an important exchange of experience and knowledge and give students a potential opportunity to gain experience in these organizations.
The Kyrgyz Republic ranked highest in Central Asia on trade facilitation in the UN Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation UNECE Report 2021 and it is important to maintain this momentum.
For further information about UNECE’s activities on trade facilitation in the Kyrgyz Republic, please visit: https://unece.org/trade/support-transition-countries.