CBTA and TIR Convention

Cross-Border Transport Agreement and TIR Convention

 The Cross-Border Transport of Persons, Vehicles, and Goods Agreement (CBTA) aims to facilitate commercial activities between Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, in order to spur regional job creation, public revenue generation, and balanced economic growth. The CBTA is designed around CAREC Transport Corridor #5 connecting China with Pakistan, and it has the potential to help reduce the average transit costs between these countries, lowering import costs, and making exports more price competitive. These measures to improve transport along this corridor are projected to lead to expanded growth opportunities for production and employment as export prospects increase. In addition, it will further assist Afghanistan in implementing the International Road Transport TIR Convention (The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets), which the country ratified in February 2012. The TIR Convention will allow Afghan trucks to travel more efficiently and cost effectively to distant markets by exempting customs guarantees during transit (until reaching a final destination).

Current Status

The Cross-Border Transport Agreement between Afghanistan, The Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan wields the potential to improve this Central Asian sub-region’s region’s transit and trade policy/facilitation and investment environment, including by supporting the customs and establishing border liaison offices in these three countries. Its implementation is also poised to help Afghanistan and its surrounding region to develop local private sectors and market economies conducive to doing business internationally. The Government of Tajikistan signed the CBTA’s accession agreement on 23 November 2011, and the Government of Afghanistan followed suit on 10 December 2001. Unfortunately, following the signing of the CBTA accession agreement by the Kyrgyz Republic on 23 July 2013, the agreement was sent to the Kyrgyz Parliament for final approval where it has remained stuck in negotiations. As a step toward unblocking this and other potential future obstacles to CBTA implementation, officials within the Government of Afghanistan have expressed an interest in extending the current CBTA with the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to include Kazakhstan. Due to the lack of a transit agreement between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, trucks are generally prohibited to enter each other’s territories freely. Once successfully adopted and implemented, the CBTA and TIR Convention can serve to reinforce the goals and activities found within the Afghan Government’s Private Sector Development National Priority Program.

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Explore innovative ways to revisit approval of the CBTA by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, including by initiating discussions between Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan on extending the current Cross-Border Transport Agreement to include Kazakhstan.
  • Negotiating and implementing a CBTA takes resources, time, and political will among the main parties to the agreement. International partners, including the Asian Development Bank, are encouraged to continue to provide technical assistance and other incentives to facilitate CBTA negotiations under the umbrella of CAREC.
  • Afghanistan should encourage India to join the TIR Convention and other relevant transit agreements.
Budget & Funding Status n/a
Institutional Partners Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, The Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and the Asian Development Bank, USAID

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