Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Secretariat (CAREC)
• Introduction to the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC)
• New strategies towards trade policy and towards trade and transport facilitation in Central Asia
• Successful and ongoing efforts towards WTO accession by CAREC countries
The region of Central Asia is of strategic importance in the World Trade Organization as the rules-based Multilateral Trading System. Of CAREC’s 10 Members, 5 are WTO Members: China, Kyrgz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan and Tajikistan; 4 are negotiating their WTO Membership: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; and, Turkmenistan is contemplating application.
The twin objectives of the CAREC: Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program are Trade Expansion and Improving Competitiveness. The WTO sets the rules of global trade, regulates global trade and adjudicates disputes. As stated by WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo in his 2013 Annual Report on Accessions: "The WTO accession process is a uniquely powerful instrument for domestic reforms and international co-operation. It has raised the profile of trade in overall development policies and is a long-term commitment for trade integration".
At this Panel Session, participants will be introduced to the strategy and achievements of CAREC. This 12-year old Program implements a number of investment and technical assistance schemes to promote trade, including support for member countries' WTO accession and post-accession implementation commitments. It identifies projects that ensure that CAREC Member Countries can benefit from an open, rules-based Multilateral Trading System.
The panel discussions will explore how WTO accession can promote Central Asia's intra-regional trade as well as its connectivity to the global trading system. It will highlight the Program's related transport and trade facilitation initiatives, which complement WTO accession in furthering regional integration, supporting domestic reforms and country-owned modernization programs.