Statement of President Emomali Rahmon at the Inauguration of the 16th Ministerial Conference on Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)

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Your Excellency Mr. Nakao!

Distinguished Heads of Delegation!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I would like to welcome you to the 16th Ministerial Conference on Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) in Tajikistan and wish you all fruitful elaborations.

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the Leadership of all states, organizations and colleagues, who made efforts for promotion of this Initiative.

Central Asia has accumulated a great experience of beneficial and fruitful cooperation between the countries of the Region. Our countries are linked not only by their common borders, but also via their ancient trade traditions originating from the period of the Great Silk Road.

The trade traditions and system that formulated historically through this Road, still continue being important and make the Region attractive to other countries of the world from geographical and economic perspective.

The CAREC Program, by taking into account the Region's priorities, particularly focuses on formulation of a system of partnership between the countries and development of the Region's economic strategy, which is in its transition period now.

In the basin of the Program's participating states Central Asia has the market of 70 000 000 consumers and our countries' economic sectors are linked, which creates a solid foundation for cooperation. However, the trade between the Central Asian countries accounts for 10% of the overall trade of these countries in total, which is a very low indicator.

We understand very well that ensuring the competitiveness of our national economies and formulation of regional common markets is critical for the region within the globalization.

With this regard, we have been addressing a number of challenges at the intergovernmental level, including inconsistency of our national legislations and barriers to trade development. But, we can overcome the challenges associated with the globalization only by ensuring regional cooperation and establishing dialogue platform between our countries. Therefore, it is crucial to strengthen economic cooperation within the Program.

Our National Development Strategy (to 2030) reflects the priorities and key areas of our public policy towards sustainable development. In this context, we defined ensuring energy security and effective use of power, country's connectivity and its transfer to a transit country, food security and public access to quality food as well as expansion of productive employment among our strategic objectives.

It is obvious that these objectives reflect not only the interests of Tajikistan, but also the interests of the entire region.

I believe that concerted cooperation within this Strategy in key action areas can expand the opportunities of the region's countries by several times.

Thereby, we can ensure sustainable development of each country and improve the public living standards in the Region.

CAREC Program focuses on harmonization of national legislations, vitalization of operations, achievement of tangible outcomes and transparency.

Therefore, in our opinion this Program, as a partnership development tool, is an effective model of linkages between our countries and organizations.

With a view to ensuring effectiveness of our activities we need to make constructive decisions within this cooperation by taking into account our common interests.

Improvement of regional trade and elimination of administrative barriers will make it possible for every country to use its potential in full capacity in this process.

We have plenty of opportunities and abundant potential, with the use of which the Region's countries in partnership with multilateral cooperation institutions to turn the basin of the Program participating states into a developed region.

It is my firm belief that the drafted documents will help the countries of the Region reduce trade expenditures, improve investment climate and expand business opportunities.

Enhancement of regional trade cooperation, in our view, can serve as a strong facility to address the poverty challenges and improve public living standards.

Development of cooperation between the countries of the Region is directly linked with the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Tajikistan has always been for solution to this case and is the iniatiator of infrastructure projects implementation in Afghanistan, because it is possible to ensure peace and stability in this country only by developing the production and social infrastructure and improving public living standards.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

To ensure the Region's sustainable development, it is important to address the issues of water and energy efficiency, which are closely linked to each other. In this regard, we need to take into account the climate change and growing vulnerability of our countries as a consequence of water-born natural disasters.

Alongside with this, efficient use of our hydropower resources and renewable energy sources can serve as a strong driver for development of green economy and generation of environment friendly power, industrial development, guarantee for energy security and sustainable economic growth of the Central Asian countries.

Concurrently, strengthening of the region's transit capacity and establishment of a rigid transport system require our joint efforts.

The majority of the Region's countries, including Tajikistan, are a part of the landlocked countries basin due to their geographic location and therefore have different landline transport infrastructure.

Accordingly, a number of the CAREC participating states, including Tajikistan, face challenges in getting access to the large world markets via sea. Therefore, Tajikistan's connectivity is crucial not only for us, but for the entire region to facilitate transit of goods through our country.

Though 15 communications projects are implemented in Tajikistan within CAREC, creation of transport corridors in the region still require to be strengthened.

Creation of a system of communications linkage will give a strong impetus to link Central Asia with other countries of Asia and Europe and increase mutual trade turnover.

Given this factor, we need to attach a priority attention to the projects on construction of highways and railways in these countries and creation of regional transport corridors leading to sea ports.

Continued cooperation between the partners in this area and creation of reliable transport crossing points and logistic centres would promote further socio-economic development of the Region's countries.

In this context, I believe that the CAREC participating states will support the new long-term Strategy, including on establishment of economic corridors.

It would be reasonable to enhance our cooperation within CAREC on new priorities such as human development, agriculture and tourism, which are reflected in the 2030 Agenda.

Distinguished Participants!

Implementation of CAREC strategic plans require substantive time and investments. Therefore, we need to qualitatively improve the coordination of issues and the joint projects financing mechanisms. I would like to emphasize several points important to achieve this objective:

First, we expect practical initiatives, timely implementation and new mechanisms from CAREC for development of communications, ensuring border management and common economic security.

Creation of a rigid system and connection of transport corridors in this area is of strategic importance for the Region's countries, particularly Tajikistan.

Second, addressing challenges faced by the CAREC participating states mainly depends on the professionalism of specialists in relevant areas. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation in training of highly qualified professionals and human development overall.

Third, to achieve our long-term regional cooperation objectives, we need to run a unified strategy based on our common interests and establish a strong base for integration not only in economic, but also in other vital sectors.

At the conclusion, I would like to reiterate Tajikistan's commitment for enhancement of beneficial cooperation with all countries and development partners � parties to CAREC.

I hope that our wider integration and cooperation will promote socio-economic development and thereby further prosperity of our countries thoroughly.

I wish good luck to all Conference participants.

Thank you!

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan