A trilateral meeting on customs issues among the governments of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia was held in Izmir on October 8.
The meeting aimed at facilitating trade, increasing transit potential and contributing to the regional economic integration and at holding discussions in this regard.
Deputy Minister of Trade, head of the Customs Administration of the Republic of Turkey Riza Tuna Turagay drew attention to the important role of customs services in protecting customs borders and providing assistance to the economic growth through trade facilitation, said the meeting served to further strengthening the trilateral cooperation in many spheres.
Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan Safar Mehdiyev said Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan being friendly and partner countries were developing successfully and the meeting created confidence that cooperation would be further continued.
Safar Mehdiyev underlined that Azerbaijan had high-level relations with both Turkey and Georgia in all areas, including customs, and expressed confidence that trilateral cooperation would further strengthen the ties between the customs services of those countries in the near future.
Director General of the Revenue Service of Georgia's Ministry of Finance Levan Kakawa noted that Turkey-Azerbaijan-Georgia relations were developing on the level of strategic partnership, effective cooperation had been established in all spheres and the customs bodies were contributing to this cooperation.
Discussions were held on a number of issues on customs cooperation, including strengthening of cooperation in the field of law enforcement and at customs checkpoints, digitization of TIR procedures, Turkey-Nakhchivan-Azerbaijan-Georgia corridor, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
The parties stressed the importance of establishing a trilateral committee among the customs bodies of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and agreed to further strengthen cooperation.
Moreover, the sides expressed readiness to strengthen cooperation in the fight against smuggling and other offences. They agreed to establish a joint coordination center to strengthen cooperation in the fight against smuggling and with regard to security.
The participants of the meeting also expressed readiness to sign an agreement on exchanging advance information to facilitate transit customs procedures within the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project.
At the end of the event, the heads of the customs services of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed the protocol of the meeting and the "Protocol on establishing the Trilateral Committee on Customs Issues among the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of Georgia."
The documents were signed by Safar Mehdiyev on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, by Riza Tuna Turagay on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Turkey and by Levan Kakawa on behalf of the Government of Georgia.
The Trilateral Committee on Customs Issues will coordinate and promote the cooperation among the sides, determine major spheres and directions of cooperation.
This Committee will coordinate cooperation in exploring ways and opportunities to strengthen cooperation on customs issues among the sides; in facilitating and simplifying border crossing procedures and ensuring their security; in sharing knowledge and best practices related to customs policies and procedures, executive functions, modernization programs and supply chain security; in taking joint measures to fight smuggling.
The heads of the customs services will be the co-chairs of the Committee, the Committee will have working groups on improvement of customs activity; international cooperation and training; exchange of information; cooperation in customs law-enforcement issues; risk management and statistics.
It should be noted that the meetings of the Committee will be held once a year.
The sides agreed to hold the next meeting in Baku.