ASTANA, 11 August 2009 - Experts and officials discussed gaps and needs in trade and transport policy and perspectives for transit transport development in the region during an OSCE-supported meeting that ended in Astana today.
The national roundtable meeting was jointly organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana, the European Commission and the Ministry of Transport and Communication. It gathered some 60 representatives of government agencies, international experts from organizations including the UN, USAID and the World Bank as well as private sector representatives.
"Non-physical barriers to trade increase the cost of doing business, prevent investment development and lead to development of corruption and a shadow economy, thus preventing economic and political development of the region," said Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, the Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana. "OSCE participating States, in particular the Central Asian countries, show a strong political will to co-operate in the field of transit transport development. This is reflected by Kazakhstan's decision to promote co-operation on these matters within the OSCE," he added.
Participants exchanged views on the transit transport situation in the region and discussed logistics measures to facilitate road and railway border crossings. Performance measurement at border crossings to support the trade of landlocked developing countries was another topic on the agenda, as was co-operation among national government agencies and public-private partnerships.
"We discussed the current situation at border crossings and transport security as well as the creation of an Action Plan on Removal of Trade Barriers and Increasing Land Transport Security - an important document that reflects how problems identified during the meeting can be solved," said Azat Bekturov, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication. "Today's meeting contributed to work to remove trade barriers."
Participants created recommendations on further measures to improve cross-border procedures and ensure transport security in the region, such as adoption and implementation of measures to reduce trade barriers at border crossings and strengthening the national trade and transit coordination and monitoring mechanisms. They also discussed the role of the OSCE, as a platform for dialogue, in supporting measures to support cross-border trade and transport security.
The conclusions of the meeting will contribute to next year's OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, to be held during the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship with the theme "Promoting good governance at border crossings, improving security of land transportation and facilitating international transport by road and rail in the OSCE region".