The opening event of the Twinning Project "Support to the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the accession to the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure, Convention on Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods and implementation of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS)" was held on January 29.
The video conference was attended by chairman of the State Customs Committee, customs service Colonel-General Safar Mehdiyev, head of the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas, Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan Augusto Massari, Director General of Italy's Customs and Monopolies Agency Marcello Minenna, deputy chairmen of the State Customs Committee, employees of the relevant agencies of the Committee, representatives of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and experts of the European Union.
Welcoming the guests, chairman of the State Customs Committee Safar Mehdiyev expressed confidence that the meeting organized as part of the Twinning Project in support of the State Customs Committee with regard to the preparation for accession to the European New Computerised Transit System would be effective and productive though was held in an online format because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Safar Mehdiyev noted that the great leader Heydar Aliyev's strategic course aimed at developing the transit potential of Azerbaijan was being successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev, and the steps taken in this direction were making important contributions to the development of international trade.
Safar Mehdiyev stressed that the victorious Azerbaijani Army under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev had liberated our lands occupied by Armenia within the 44-day war, praised the political support provided by the Italian Republic in our just struggle and expressed confidence that the relations between the two countries would further develop. Chairman of the State Customs Committee noted that the end of the occupation was important not only for our country, but also for strengthening regional development and integration.
It was also underlined that increasing the transit potential of our country, located at the crossroads of the East-West and North-South international transport corridors connecting Europe and Asia, was always in the focus of attention as one of the priorities of economic development. In the context of the development of the non-oil sector and diversification of key sectors of the economy, the development of international transport corridors passing through our country is of particular importance. In this regard, contributing to increasing the transit potential of our country is one of the priorities of the customs bodies.
Chairman of the Committee underlined that in accordance with the state policy on the development of transit transportation, the relevant programs and documents, including the "Roadmap for the Development of Logistics and Trade" determined important targets such as accelerating the border crossing of goods in transit, simplifying procedures, increasing the attractiveness of the international transport corridors passing through the country. Taking into account the role of the customs bodies in this area, the Board of the State Customs Committee approved the Transit Concept last year to determine the implementation mechanisms for the development of customs transit on the basis of a unified approach. Studying modern international experience and applying advanced technologies in this area for the development of the transit system are among major tasks set for the customs bodies as part of the concept.
Chairman of the State Customs Committee also said that the state program approved under the appropriate decree signed by President identified measures to harmonize national legislation and establish a transit guarantee system to accelerate the implementation of the European New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).
Chairman of the State Customs Committee noted that despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, a decision had been made to continue the project due to the will of the Azerbaijani and Italian customs services, the decision was supported by the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Economy, the National Coordinator of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the European Commission Aid Programs. On behalf of the Azerbaijani customs service Safar Mehdiyev expressed gratitude for the support.
Noting that the project was based on three major components, such as harmonization of legislation, information technologies and operational capabilities, chairman of the State Customs Committee expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in the implementation of all three components.
Safar Mehdiyev expressed confidence that the EU-funded Twinning Project would be implemented successfully and fruitful cooperation with the customs service of Italy, one of Azerbaijan's main trading partners, would be continued.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas thanked the leadership of the State Customs Committee for the fruitful cooperation. It was noted that the simplification of processes, the introduction of innovations in the field of customs were of particular importance, and the general transit procedures, simplification of paperwork was very important for business circles in Europe.
Then, Italian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Augusto Massari spoke about the existing economic and political relations between Azerbaijan and Italy. It was noted that the Italian customs service acted as Azerbaijan's partner and currently two twinning projects were being implemented between Azerbaijan and Italy, they would make an important contribution to the future cooperation.
Speaking about the purpose of the project, Director General of Italy's Customs and Monopolies Agency Marcello Minenna praised the conference organized amid the pandemic and said that the project would create new opportunities for the integration of Azerbaijan's economy into European economies and have a positive impact on imports and exports.
Then the resident twinning consultant Antonio Lo Parco gave detailed information about the importance of the project and its future prospects.
Views were exchanged on the project, the participants' questions answered during the event.
It should be noted that the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Italy's Customs and Monopolies Agency are twinning partners. The purpose of the twinning project is to facilitate Azerbaijan's connection with the existing EU customs systems and trade among the parties.
Press and Information Relations Department of the State Customs Committee