At the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Program with the participation of international financial institutions, a new CAREC Integrated Trade Program – IPTC 2030 was adopted.
The Ashgabat Program is expected to become a roadmap for establishing more open and active trade relations, reducing bureaucratic barriers, diversifying exports and national economies through the development of services and digitalization of trade.
Together with the Trade Program until 2030, an Action Plan on it until 2020 was adopted.
According to ADB President Takehiko Nako, the state of the economy and trade in the CAREC region is improving. Apart from the PRC, growth in the region reached 4.7% in 2017, whereas in 2016 it reached 3.5%. In his opinion, the growth rate in 2018 will amount to 4.8%.
Global merchandise trade grew by 10.7% in 2017, which was a jump after a three percent decline in 2016. The recovery of trade links is even more pronounced in the CAREC region. The volume of trade in goods, excluding China, increased by 12.8% in 2017.
Trade growth in the region remains strong in the first half of 2018. China retains the position of one of the major trading partners of other CAREC countries.
In 2017, trade between China and other CAREC countries increased by 23.8% and reached $54 billion in comparison ($44 billion in 2016).
The prospect of regional and global trade faces uncertainties due to current trade conflicts and higher tariffs, Takehiko Nakao said. While the CAREC economies respond to external shocks, demonstrating resilience and viability, it is important to improve the environment for economic cooperation and trade contacts in the region, the ADB head said at a ministerial meeting in Ashgabat.
According to him, $ 2 billion out of the total volume of lending projects in the CAREC countries planned for 2018 (excluding China) is aimed at regional integration and interaction in areas such as electricity supply and trade.
All in all, as Takehiko Nakao said, from 2018 to 2022 ADB will allocate $ 5 billion to implement the CAREC-2030 strategy.