The 14th session of the SPECA Working Group on Trade, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), was held in Ashgabat. The topic of the session is “Connectivity: Sustainable Trade and Transport Facilitation in the SPECA Region”.
During the session, the members of the Working Group discussed the results of the creation of a regional network of cooperation on trade policy and WTO issues, reviewed the further development and application of the principles of sustainable trade in in SPECA in specific areas, as well as recommendations for lowering non-tariff barriers to trade in the SPECA region. Delegates also reviewed the SPECA regional strategy for trade facilitation and the possibility of developing a Roadmap for its implementation.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation (ECO) has developed a document on trade facilitation – the ECO Trade Agreement, uniting 5 countries – Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. We also would welcome Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan to join the agreement,” Sayed Yahya Akhlaqi, ECO Deputy Secretary General, said. “Turkmenistan is one of the important partners in the region, which is considered as a transit hub. The Turkmenbashi International Port and the railway network of the country could simplify transnational cargo transportation. Turkmenistan is also part of the Lapis Lazuli international transit corridor. Therefore, a country could play a key role to boost trade in Asia.”
Trade facilitation is becoming a key factor in enhancing the competitiveness and economic development of countries and regions. The SPECA countries could enjoy a lot from simplified procedures by reducing delays at border crossings, improving risk management practices, expanding the participation of the trade policymakers, and building trust between the public and private sectors with various other organizations. In this regard, the development and adoption of national roadmaps on trade facilitation, as well as on mechanisms for its monitoring and tracking transportation in countries, play an important role.