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Summit of Heads of Central Asia: Kazakhstan calls for economic cooperation

Cholpon-Ata city is hosting the 4th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian countries.

According to the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the threat of an impending global recession, largely provoked by sanctions wars and growing protectionism, brings to the fore the issue of accelerated development of regional economic cooperation. With collapsing production and trade supply chains, the trend towards regionalization becomes increasingly apparent.

He believes that Central Asian economic cooperation may well become, if not the main, then at least one of the key sources of growth for the national economies.

The head of the Republic of Kazakhstan added that in order to fully use the economic potential and the advantages of an advantageous geographical position, it is important to establish close cooperation in order to eliminate structural and infrastructural constraints.

He noted that it would be useful to take effective measures to launch a network of border trade and economic hubs that will serve as reference points for a single commodity distribution system of the Central Asian states with the prospect of its further expansion.

«Kazakhstan is already taking practical steps in this direction together with Kyrgyz and Uzbek partners. In particular, the project of the international center of industrial cooperation Central Asia is being implemented on the Kazakh-Uzbek border, and an industrial trade and logistics complex project is being implemented on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border. There is an agreement with Tajikistan on the establishment of wholesale distribution centers, and together with Turkmenistan we are planning to build a grain terminal. These projects meet our common interests in increasing the volume of mutual trade, as well as exporting products to the markets of the EAEU and other countries,» Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

He reminded that along with traditional approaches, it is necessary to make wider use of modern ways to increase the export of goods.

«In particular, the recent widespread restrictions and lockdowns have shown the critical importance of development of e-commerce. Given the competitive position of the Central Asian states, at the initial stage, Kazakhstan proposes to organize a joint promotion of products at online exhibitions. For example, during the last exhibition at Alibaba site, Russia alone presented over 50,000 items of goods. This year, Kazakhstan became the 18th country that opened a national pavilion on the Alibaba platform, 7,500 Kazakh goods and 130 companies are presented. Cumulative sales amounted to $167 million since 2020,» the head of Kazakhstan said.

The first Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia was held in Nur-Sultan (2018), the second — in Tashkent (2019). In 2020, the summit was planned to be held in Kyrgyzstan, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed for a year. Turkmenistan hosted the third meeting in August 2021.