Tajikistan has become the third country globally to create and operationalize, with ITC assistance, its Trade Facilitation Portal. The Portal will be officially launched on 26 April 2019. We have asked Ms. Alina Fetisova, ITC Trade Facilitation Consultant to Tajikistan, to tell us about this platform and its role.
Please, tell us about the Portal. What is it, who will manage it, who is the audience, what are the benefits, and how it will help the Tajik economy?
The Trade Facilitation Portal is an online platform that provides step-by-step description of import and export procedures from the trader’s point of view. It displays, in a user-friendly manner, all the documents and forms (i.e. license, permits, certificates…) that businesses must submit and/or collect from each border regulatory agency and highlights the fees and charges that traders will be required to pay.
The trade facilitation portal is a key tool for transparency that benefits businesses as well as Tajikistan government. For traders, it gives a detailed picture of what needs to be done to comply with national regulations. It thus reduces the time and cost invested by traders to obtain and analyse trade related information and minimize the risk of shipment being delayed at the border due to non-compliance with import/export requirements. For policymakers, it helps with the identification of all unnecessary redundancies and administrative bottlenecks. The TF Portal will thus assist the Government of Tajikistan, through the Coordinating Committee on Trade Facilitation (CCTF), to streamline and simplify trade processes for the benefit of Tajikistan’s business community.
Having all this information available on the internet is a part of Tajikistan’s obligations under the WTO TFA (Article 1.2).
What was the role of ITC in developing and operationalizing this platform?
The Tajikistan Trade Facilitation Portal is implemented by ITC and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan (MEDT) in close cooperation with SECO, UNCTAD, UNDP and OSCE.
ITC has been providing technical support to establish the portal and build national capacity to operate it effectively. In one year and a half, 39 product specific export and import procedures were documented and continuously updated on the portal under ITC guidance. These procedures were also certified by border regulatory agencies in order to validate that displayed information is correct and traders can benefit from it. In order to keep the portal fully operational over time, ITC and MEDT have agreed on governance structure of the portal and are organizing trainings on portal operationalisation for Permanent Technical Secretariat of CCTF to ensure sustainability of the platform in the future.
Currently ITC continues providing advisory services for improving the portal and is preparing for its official launch. As a next step, ITC would like to explore possibilities to assist policy makers in leveraging information in the portal to design simplification reforms.