International Trade Facilitation Forum highlights the importance of Moldova as a key bridge for EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes

        On 29th September 2022, the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) and the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova, organized the “International Trade Facilitation Forum – Response to the Blockade of Transport Corridors from Ukraine”. The event took place in a hybrid format in Chisinau with the participation of high-level representatives from the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Commission, the EU Delegation to Moldova,  EU High Level Advisors’ Mission to Moldova, the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine, Customs Eastern and South-Eastern Land Border Expert Team, and the Customs Authorities of neighbouring EU Member States.

        The one-day Forum in Chisinau was opened by Jānis Mažeiks, EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, who emphasized the devastating global impact that Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine is having: “Russia is deliberately destroying Ukraine’s agricultural and transport infrastructure and equipment, causing fuel shortages, and creating worldwide food supply chain problems. Russia has in fact endangered food security for millions of people across the world. To address these unprecedented challenges, the EU, together with its EU member states, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova set up the EU Solidarity lanes. These joint achievements are a testimony of our solidarity. They also reflect our unicity, our determination to act jointly in support of Ukraine, of its people, but also for the people around the world in needs of these agricultural products”.

        The Deputy Head of State Customs Service of Ukraine, Vladyslav Suvorov, thanked all present for the round of applause for all the Ukrainians who, both on the economic and actual frontlines, stand up to the Russian war of aggression. Turning to the forum’s participants, Mr. Suvorov stated, “The war changed the lives of Ukrainian citizens and institutions, and its consequences went way beyond the geographical borders of Ukraine. Because of the Ukrainian sea ports’ blockade, International Automobile Border Crossing Points came under pressure they had never experienced before. However, thanks to the good and close cooperation we established together with Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Hungarian, and Moldovan Customs, and border authorities, we were able to pass this test. Due to this very cooperation, we were able to handle the migration crisis at the very beginning of the war, at the same time enabling timely delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid into Ukraine. In this regard, I would like to thank the European Commission for the establishment of the Solidarity Lanes initiative, and on the part of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, we put our every effort to enable swift clearance and admission of cargo traffic.”

        The Director of the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Talmazan, emphasized the importance of cooperation: „Today’s event once again demonstrates the fruitful cooperation with customs administrations and other authorities from neighbouring states to identify the optimal solutions for facilitating trade, streamlining cross-border traffic, as well as supporting the strategic partnership between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union.” Mr Talmazan stressed that only by unifying our efforts, being anchored in implementing the above-mentioned measures and actions, we would succeed in further unblocking the transport corridors in Ukraine.

        Ukraine’s road and railway transport corridors remain vital, even though the UN-backed agreements partially reopened Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi seaports for agricultural export, noted the Head of EUBAM, Slawomir Pichor. “EUBAM keeps working together with our partner services for the simplification of customs and border formalities and supporting Solidarity Lanes stronger than ever. The Mission continues to play the role of a catalyst and bring together services to identify bottlenecks and subsequently find solutions to streamline the cargo clearance. We will also continue our support to Moldovan and Ukrainian partners, especially through training, advice and advocacy for the joint control, as an effective way to speed up cargo movement across borders.”, Head of EUBAM concluded.