China moot to help boost economic ties
ISLAMABAD, Oct 24: Ministers and senior officials of the 10 member countries of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) as well as representatives of six multilateral institutions and other development partners will gather in Wuhan (China) on Oct 30 to discuss concrete ways to boost connectivity and cooperation in their region through to 2020.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will lead the Pakistan delegation at the two-day 11th ministerial conference which will also discuss and prioritise implementation of the ‘CAREC 2020 Strategic Framework 2011-2020’ which was endorsed at last year’s ministerial conference held in Baku.
Senior officials will report on the progress and key issues of CAREC in transport, trade, and energy, as well as on the future directions and activities of the CAREC Institute.
They will be briefed on economic outlook of CAREC countries in a special session presented by representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the members of CAREC programme.
The entry of Pakistan and Turkmenistan into CAREC in 2010 expanded the Programme’s geographic and strategic interests by providing vital links with South Asia and the Middle East.
Opportunities to expand investments in transport connectivity also abound, although the CAREC region faces stiff competition in road and rail transport networks from the all-sea routes around Africa or through the Suez Canal.
The CAREC programme prioritizes projects and initiatives in four key areas: transport, energy, trade facilitation and trade policy in an effort to promote economic growth and poverty reduction in the region.
Since CAREC was formed in 2001, the region has seen $19.6 billion in investments in just over 120 projects. This includes building or rehabilitation of almost 4,000kms of roads and 3,200kms of railways, allowing faster movement of goods and people within the region.
In energy sector, more than 2,300 kms of power transmission lines have been constructed and are already providing reliable electricity to homes and businesses.
Prior to the ministerial session, senior officials of CAREC member countries will discuss handling trade policy issues and activities and multilateral institution partners.
The meeting will address topics covering emerging patterns of trade and cross-border cooperation through borderless bazaars and regional integration; World Trade Organization training workshops; progress in the implementation of the Trade Policy Strategic Action Plan; and the future work programme of the Trade Policy Coordinating Committee (TPCC).
Another meeting will discuss the CAREC 2020 implementation plan for priority sectors like transport, trade and energy and future directions.