17th Ministerial Conference of CAREC — Integrated Trade Agenda Adopted
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17th Ministerial Conference of CAREC — Integrated Trade Agenda Adopted

Image Attribute: CAREC Program ministers, senior officials, and partners at the 17th Ministerial Conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. See below for a full caption. / Source: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Image Attribute: CAREC Program ministers, senior officials, and partners at the 17th Ministerial Conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. See below for a full caption. / Source: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

On November 15, 2018,  The 17th ministerial-level conference of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) was held in Ashgabat - the capital of Turkmenistan. The theme of the conference was - "Expanding Trade and Promoting Diversification" - among the member countries.

The conference was attended by ministers of investment and economy of the CAREC countries, heads of a number of international organizations, such as ADB, ECO, EBRD, IMF, IDB, SCO, UNDP, UN-ESCAP, USAID, World Bank, WTO.

CAREC ministers unanimously endorsed the new CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 and its Rolling Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) 2018–2030. CITA will help CAREC countries expand trade, diversify exports, and integrate with the global economy. The CAREC ministers said in a joint statement: "We resolved to create an open, free, and non-discriminatory trading environment, support a multilateral trading system and oppose all forms of protectionism."

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program was established in 1997 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to encourage economic cooperation among 11 countries in the Central Asian region - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. From 2001 to end September 2017, investments in member countries under CAREC have amounted to US$ 30.5 billion, covering 182 projects. China remains one of the main trading partners of the other CAREC countries. In 2017, trade between China and other CAREC countries increased by 23.8% to reach US$ 54 billion, up from US$ 44 billion in 2016.

In CAREC, the "Ministerial Conference (MC)" functions as a strategy-setting and policy body, and exercise accountability over the results of the program. It also provides overall strategic guidance on issues of regional and supranational nature and advises on CAREC’s external linkages with other regional cooperation bodies and multilateral institutions.

Whereas, the Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM) monitor the overall operational progress and consider complex multisector projects. The SOM is empowered to monitor progress at the cluster and sector levels. It could recommend operational improvements, and be vested with the authority to consider and endorse complex multi-country and multi-sector projects. The SOM also serve as a mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the policy and strategic decisions made at the MC-level.

CAREC 2030

CAREC 2030 builds on the foundation of progress made under CAREC 2020 and provides the new long-term strategic framework for the CAREC Program leading to 2030. It is aligned with national strategies and with the 2030 global development agenda.

CAREC 2030 envisages focus on five operational clusters: 

(i) economic and financial stability; 

(ii) trade, tourism, and economic corridors; 

(iii) infrastructure and economic connectivity; 

(iv) agriculture and water; and

(v) human development. 

Integrating the use of information and communication technology (ICT) across the spectrum of CAREC operations will be a cross-cutting priority.


To Download the Institutional Document (Pdf) - Click Here

Image Caption: From left to right: Tajikistan Ambassador to Turkmenistan Mr. Farrukh Sharifzoda; Pakistan Ministry of Commerce Parliamentary Secretary Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan; Azerbaijan Deputy Minister of Economy Mr. Sahib Mammadov; Kazakhstan First Vice Minister of National Economy First Vice Minister Mr. Ruslan Dalenov; Afghanistan Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Mr. Nasir Ahmad Durrani; Uzbekistan Minister for Foreign Trade Mr. Jamshid Khodjaev; ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao; Turkmenistan Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Mr. Gochmyrat Myradov; ADB Vice-President Mr. Wencai Zhang;  Turkmenistan Minister of Finance and Economy Mr. Batyr Bazarov; People's Republic of China Vice Minister of Finance Mr. Yu Weiping; Georgia Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Mr. Akaki Saghirashvili; Mongolia Ministry of Finance State Secretary Mr. Narantsogt Sanjaasuren; Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Economy's Director of the Aid Strategy Department Mr. Sultan Akhmatov; and EBRD Vice President (Risk and Compliance) and Chief Risk Officer Ms. Betsy Nelson.