By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey have signed a protocol for the creation of a trilateral committee on customs issues.
The protocol was signed during the trilateral meeting on customs issues between the governments of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia, held in Izmir.
The document was signed by Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee Chairman Safar Mehdiyev, Turkish Customs Administration Chairman and Trade Deputy Minister Riza Tuna Turagay and Georgian Finance Ministry Revenue Service Director-General Levan Kakava.
The trilateral committee will coordinate, promote and develop cooperation between the parties and identify key areas of cooperation.
The committee will explore ways and means of strengthening cooperation on customs matters between the parties, facilitate and simplify border crossing and ensure their security, share knowledge and best practices in policies, procedures, executive functions, modernization programs and supply chain security. In addition, it will coordinate law enforcement cooperation in customs matters, take joint operational anti-smuggling measures and cooperate in other areas.
The purpose of the trilateral meeting was to facilitate trade, increase transit capacity, promote regional economic integration and hold discussions in these directions.
Safar Mehdiyev noted that Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are rapidly moving towards successful development as friendly and partner countries. He added that this meeting gives confidence that cooperation between the parties will continue.
Mehdiyev stressed that Azerbaijan maintains high-level relations with both Turkey and Georgia in all spheres, including customs, and expressed confidence that trilateral cooperation will further strengthen ties between the customs services of these countries in the near future.
Referring to the importance of the role of customs services in protecting customs borders and facilitating economic growth through trade facilitation Riza Tuna Turagay noted that the meeting served to further strengthen trilateral cooperation in these and other areas.
In turn, Levan Kakava noted that Turkish-Azerbaijan-Georgian relations are developing within the framework of strategic partnership. He added that effective cooperation has been established in all spheres, and the customs authorities of the parties have contributed to this cooperation.
The parties discussed a number of issues of customs cooperation, including strengthening cooperation in the field of law enforcement and customs checkpoints, the Turkey-Nakhchivan-Azerbaijan-Georgia corridor, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
At the same time, the sides decided to create a joint coordination center to strengthen cooperation in the fight against smuggling and security.
The participants also expressed their willingness to sign an agreement on exchange for preliminary information to facilitate transit customs procedures for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad project.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting in Baku.
Earlier, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey have signed a trilateral protocol on the development of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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