Established in May 1993 in Brussels, Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA) is an international transport program involving the European Union and 12 member states of the Eastern European, Caucasus, and Central Asian region. The program aims at strengthen economic relations, trade, and transport in the regions of the Black Sea basin, South Caucasus and Central Asia.
At the conference, it was agreed to implement a program of a European Union funded technical assistance to develop a transport corridor on a west-east axis from Europe, across the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Central Asia.
TRACECA members include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. All are signatories to the multilateral agreement, and only Turkmenistan has yet to ratify the agreement.
According to the portal of Iran’s Transport and Urban Development Ministry, the country is eying expansion of TRACECA. The issue was brought up during a meeting between Head of Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization (RMTO) Dariush Amani and TRACECA Secretary General Asset Assavbayev.
According to Amani, the meeting focused on the development of international road transport cooperation with TRACECA member countries and increasing the volume of transit through this corridor.
Amani noted that following the policies of the government, RMTO is implementing new strategies to actively and effectively participate in international forums, regional treaties and join international conventions on transportation.
Various steps have been taken in this regard, including joining the transport of perishable goods (ATP) and the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) treaties, participating in the electronic version of the International Carriage of Goods by Road (e-CMR) convention, as well as the successful implementation of the project (E-TIR), the official said.
Amani stated that there are great areas for cooperation between the member states of the TRACECA agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and added, “We are therefore interested in making the best use of the various projects and courses offered or held each year under the framework of the said agreement at the secretariat or in other member states.”
The RMTO head has also called on the Assavbayev to take the necessary measures to eliminate or reduce significant tariff barriers and unconventional tolls imposed by some TRACECA member countries on the international road fleet crossing those countries in order to realize the goals envisioned for the corridor.
According to Amani, during the meeting Assavbayev stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an active member of TRACECA and the main link between Central Asia and Europe.
“The main purpose of these talks is to develop cooperation and implement TRACECA programs through the Islamic Republic of Iran; In this regard, the main concern is to reduce transportation costs and increase cross-border traffic in order to optimize trade activities,” he said.