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Ashgabat Initiative adopted to reduce trade barriers among Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan
The Ashgabat Initiative on the reduction of barriers to trade and transport in the region has been adopted as part of the Days of the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) held Nov. 18-21 in the Turkmen capital, Trend reports referring to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) website.
The Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, together with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, have taken a decisive step to capitalize on this potential with the adoption of a new initiative to reduce barriers to trade and transport using UN legal instruments, standards and recommendations, significantly increasing interconnectivity in the region, reads a UNECE press release.
Now is the moment to transform Central Asia from a periphery of the large trading blocs in Europe and East Asia into a bustling hub of development and trade at the heart of Eurasia, according to the report.
The countries, represented at ministerial level, decided to establish a Fund to support the implementation of these strategic documents.
This will boost the regional market and cross-border supply chains, helping the countries to integrate with the economies of Europe and Asia.
SPECA is a country-owned and country-driven program for the land-locked economies of Central Asia, supported by two United Nations Regional Commissions: the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Peter Burian, EU special representative for Central Asia, noted that SPECA can serve as a platform for cooperation and successful regional projects not only among the SPECA countries but also among various regional groups and initiatives, such as the EU, CIS and ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization), all of which were represented in Ashgabat.
SPECA was established in 1998 in accordance with the Tashkent Declaration signed by presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as executive secretaries of UNECE and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Later, the SPECA was joined by Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.