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WCO and Azerbaijan Customs sign Grant Agreement to enhance Customs cooperation along the Trans-Caspian Route

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BRUSSELS : In the margins of the 143rd/144th Sessions of the WCO Council, held from 27 to 29 June 2024, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ian Saunders, and the Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Shahin Baghirov, signed a Grant Agreement to establish the Azerbaijan Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF Azerbaijan). This fund aims to bolster Customs cooperation and capacity building along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor.

In recent years, the WCO has received numerous requests from countries in the sub-region to provide capacity-building support to enhance Customs connectivity along the Middle Corridor. These requests highlight the corridor’s importance as a critical trade route and the need for robust Customs procedures to facilitate efficient and secure trade flows. The establishment of CCF Azerbaijan will address these demands and the challenges faced by Customs administrations due to the globalization of trade.

CCF Azerbaijan will support a range of activities, including the training of Customs officials, and the organization of seminars, workshops and meetings for the beneficiary Customs administrations. These activities are designed to promote trade facilitation, improve compliance and enforcement, enhance Customs modernization, and build the competencies and capacities of Customs officials.

This initiative aligns with the WCO’s strategic vision of fostering regional cooperation. By enhancing the connectivity along the Middle Corridor, CCF Azerbaijan aims to create a seamless and efficient trade network that boosts economic activities, strengthens regional ties, and fosters sustainable development.

The WCO welcomes this initiative, which underscores the ongoing cooperation with Azerbaijan Customs, and looks forward to further supporting Members through the new CCF Azerbaijan.

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