Ashgabat Trade Policy Forum Central Asia and the Multilateral Trading System

Date: 11-13 May 2016
Location: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), in partnership with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Government of Turkmenistan, organized a Trade Policy Forum on “Central Asia and the Multilateral Trading System” from 11 to 13 May 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.  The Forum focused on two themes at the top of the trade policy and economic agenda for senior policy makers in Central Asia: i) Accession to the WTO; and ii) Regional Integration, including Trade Facilitation.  This Forum brought together senior representatives of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) — Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — as well as Iran.  Representatives of selected development partners were also invited.

The key objective of the Trade Policy Forum was to promote the integration of Central Asia into a rules-based, open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system (MTS). The Policy Forum programme reflected trade economic priorities for Central Asia today, including strengthening regional cooperation, integration into the rules-based MTS through accession negotiations under Article XII of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO, implementation of measures contained in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) through national and regional strategies, and development of regional supply chains through the removal of trade barriers within the region while taking advantage of large markets in neighbouring countries. 

A meeting of the SPECA Thematic Working Group on Trade, chaired by H.E. Mr Saidrahmon Nazrizoda, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan was held back to back with the Trade Policy Forum on 13 May in the afternoon. 



Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 11-13 May 2016

Opening Session
Moderator: Mr Shamurat Mustafayev, Deputy Minister of Economy and Development of Turkmenistan

11 May 2016, 9:30 – 10:00

Session I: Accession to the World Trade Organization
Moderator: Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO

Participation restricted — invitation only

11 May 2016, 10:15 – 11:00

09:30 – 12:30 Cultural programme organized by the Government of Turkmenistan

Session II: Trade Facilitation in Central Asia
Moderator: Mrs. Virginia Cram-Martos, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE

12 May 2016, 09:30 – 12:30

Session III: High Level Segment on Regional Trade Cooperation and Sustainable Development
Moderator: H.E. Mr. Saidrahmon Nazrizoda, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Tajikistan

13 May 2016, 9.00-9.45

Round Table & Conclusion: Next Steps and Ways Forward
Moderator: Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO

13 May 2016, 10.00


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