Strong presidential support for Customs reform in Uzbekistan

18 εδΈ€ζœˆ 2019

On the occasion of his participation in the 18th Asian Development Bank (ADB) Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Ministerial Conference, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya met with H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, on 14 November 2019 to discuss Customs reform.  He was accompanied by Mr. Muratjon Azimov, Chairman of the State Customs Committee.

President Mirziyoyev expressed his strong desire to improve his country’s Customs Service as it was a crucial element of its open-border policy through the use of WCO instruments and standards, which should also pave the way for Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO.

Welcoming the President’s foresight, Dr. Mikuriya shared his observations, made at the Uzbek Gisht-Kuprik border crossing point with Kazakhstan the previous day, concerning the newly expanded infrastructure.  Dr. Mikuriya expressed the view that the President’s open door policy was already well on its way, as the border post was equipped with enhanced physical infrastructure, making use of technology, available not only to users but also to border services.  This enhanced infrastructure had already led to a doubling in the trade volumes being processed. 

While fully agreeing with the President’s emphasis on the importance of Human Resource Development,
Dr. Mikuriya suggested that Uzbekistan expand its approach of ownership by Customs officials through exposure to other Customs administrations, as exemplified by Uzbekistan’s increasing participation in WCO programmes.  This would also enable Uzbek Customs officials to build trust with neighbouring countries and in turn facilitate regional cooperation, another presidential policy priority based on the principle of good neighbours.  In a similar vein, Secretary General Mikuriya stressed the importance of trust between Customs and business, stating that the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme introduced by Uzbekistan earlier this year should be built on enhanced compliance by business, backed up by greater professionalism and integrity.

The President welcomed the opportunity for dialogue offered by the meeting and asked for heightened cooperation by the WCO.  Dr. Mikuriya pledged to send a diagnostic mission to Uzbekistan early next year and, in turn, sought the President’s support for the Customs reform which they both fully endorsed.

On the previous day, Secretary General Mikuriya had also visited Customs headquarters and met with
Mr. Azimov, Chairman of the State Customs Committee, and his management team, during which the WCO-SECO Programme had been presented.