Geneva, 9 September 2022 (TDI): United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a report on its customs automation program Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA). This program helps developing nations increase customs revenues while reducing the time and the cost of trade.

Achievements of the ASYCUDA Program

The report highlights the program’s success in enabling digital connectivity for inclusive trade. It shows how ASYCUDA bolsters communication and coordinated intervention among trade stakeholders, including partner government agencies.

With advancements in Information Technology (IT) based tools, the ASYCUDA program enables countries to modernize customs management systems and generate much-needed up-to-date trade data.

Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of technology and logistics at UNCTAD stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the digitization of trade processes and procedures.”

Shamika N. Sirimanne further added that “Country experiences during these trying times illustrate how ASYCUDA has helped user countries to grow their international trading activities as they reignite their economies.”

Moreover, in terms of technological solutions, this program of UNCTDA delivers capacity-building activities to ensure system sustainability. It provides ownership by user countries and alignment of their domestic trade regulations with international norms.

The UNCTAD report explains how ASYCUDA empowers vulnerable economies, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states. It helps to improve efficiency, transparency, accountability, and risk management.

ASYCUDA initiatives increasing custom revenues

ASYCUDA program in Bangladesh, helped custom revenues to increase by 50% between 2017 and 2021, from $6.43 billion to $9.62 billion. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, import transactions rose by 32% between 2020 and 2021.

In Burundi, an ASYCUDA program’s module enabled the health ministry to monitor and control the international trade of medicines and medical equipment. It enabled the processing of 71% of medical imports in less than 24 hours in 2021.

In Djibouti, customs gains have shot up by 95% from $116 million to $226 million in the past decade due to the program. The country cleared 94% of goods in transit in less than 24 hours in 2021.

22 countries from across the globe are participating in UNCTAD’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) program.