13th Central Asian Trade Forum kicks off in Almaty

13th Central Asian Trade Forum kicks off in Almaty
Photo credit: Yelaman Turysbekov/Kazinform

The 13th Central Asian Trade Forum kicks off today in Almaty on Trade Connections: Bridging Globally, Kazinform News Agency reports.

More than 300 representatives of business and government entities from Asia, Europe, Middle East, Great Britain and the U.S. gathered in Almaty, to explore trade potential development in Central Asian region.

The forum will focus on digitalization, transport, logistics, harmonization of procedures, trade regulation issues, World Trade Organization standards as well as factors hindering the development of trade in Central Asia.

Addressing the participants, Zeinah Salahi, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Asia Bureau in Washington, D.C.,said her team is proud of providing support in organization of the forum which originated more than 10 years ago, with a belief that trade cooperation expansion would lead to stability, prosperity and strengthening of the ties between the Central Asian countries.

Vice Minister of Trade and Integration Kairat Torebayev noted that the objective of the forum is to assess the opportunities and problems in the region in an open dialogue format.

“As you know, intra-regional trade plays a huge role in the landlocked Central Asian countries. Trade is one of the major factors of economic development of any country. Here the participants discuss paperless trade, soft and traditional infrastructure, and e-commerce. There are also thematic sessions on countries,” Kairat Torebayev said.

Throughout its history, the CATF enabled the signing of  more than $32 million contracts and participation of over 10,000 leaders of state and commercial structures from 25 countries.

The forum is hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) . This is one of the flagship trade events in the region aimed at the development of cooperation, entrepreneurship and trade policy.

In the past two decades, the Central Asian countries have achieved considerable progress demonstrating solid growth potential. Thus, in the past 20 years, the region’s gross domestic product increased in average by 6.2% in real terms having achieved $347 billion. Since 2000, foreign trade turnover rose by seven times. In 2022, cumulative import and export of Central Asian countries reached almost $190 billion.

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