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Boosting Regional Trade

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After I dropped my kids off at school this morning, I checked the news stories coming from Uzbekistan and stumbled upon this one. Now, this is the type of story I like to wake up to on a Monday morning!

For as many years as I’ve been following the economic development of Central Asia, it always baffled me why they couldn’t cooperate together to enable their mutual prosperity. The formula was always there, but the political will power always failed them. Also, there is an historical precedence that many of us westerners do not know that impedes their progress. Other issues of importance are safe and secure border checkpoints; improved logistics services to support manufacturing networks, and linking roads and rails to key ports. Another is the lack of a fair and equitable tariff system that encourages trade between the Central Asian nations and the outside world.

Much to my delight when the 10 members of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program met earlier this month, they endorsed a plan develop their key trade routes with China and South Asia. This plan is designed to align its corridors to new routes and develop long-distance multi-modal transport services that combine road and rail. The plan will require a $38.8 billion dollar investment and aims to be completed by 2020. The Asian Development Bank is the lynch pin for this plan and will require CAREC’s full participation for it to become a reality.

It’s this type of news that gives me hope that Central Asia will one day become a viable, economic player in the world economy. All the tools are there. They just need to use them.

CAREC is comprised of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Posted by Greg Stephenson at 8:15 AM No comments:

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