Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 25
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries should further strengthen regional cooperation and integration efforts, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao said at the 14th CAREC Ministerial Conference held in Mongolia, said the message of the bank Sept.25.
At the Ministerial Conference, CAREC Ministers exchanged views on the developments affecting the economic performance of the group's 10 member states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Nakao said in his keynote address at the Ministerial Conference that in the current difficult global economic environment, CAREC countries should further strengthen regional cooperation and integration efforts. "Enhancing the subregion's connectivity, promoting trade and investment across borders, and improving access to external markets will help improve the prospects of the subregion as a whole," he said.
In a joint statement, CAREC Ministers noted progress made in the four priority sectors. On transport and energy, they commended investment projects in road and railway construction to develop transport corridors as well as new support for clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. In trade facilitation there has been progress on linking customs cooperation with transport infrastructure.
Ministers welcomed an initiative to strengthen cooperation in sanitary and phytosanitary measures to complement customs reforms. They also resolved to take collective action to boost road safety in their countries through better road and vehicle design, enforcement of traffic laws, and accident and emergency facilities, according to the message.
The CAREC program established in 1997 is a partnership of 10 countries- Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and 6 multilateral institutions: ADB, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, UN Development program and World Bank.
After joining the CAREC program in 2002 Azerbaijan has invested around $3 billion in program projects. Azerbaijan has allocated around $6 billion for the development of the transport corridor within CAREC. The East West highway reconstruction by Azerbaijan within the CAREC program has transformed the country into a more effective corridor between Caspian and Black seas, which contributed to the promotion of trade between Europe and Asia.
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