Central Asian Trade Forum Kicks Off in Almaty, Focusing on Global Integration

The bustling city of Almaty became the center stage for the commencement of the Central Asian Trade Forum (CATF) with the overarching theme "Trade Integration: Going Global."

Now in its 13th edition, the forum attracted over 300 delegates comprising business magnates and government officials from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the UK, and the USA. Their collective goal? To delve into the prospects of trade expansion in Central Asia.

At the heart of the forum lie critical discussions on digitalization, transportation, logistics, procedural harmonization, trade regulations, adherence to World Trade Organization standards, and the manifold challenges impeding trade growth in the region. Zeina Salahi, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID, expressed her pride in supporting an event envisioned over a decade ago, founded on the belief that enhanced trade collaboration would foster stability, prosperity, and stronger bonds among Central Asian nations.

Kairat Torebaev, Vice Minister of Trade and Integration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, emphasized the forum’s primary objective: to engage in transparent dialogue assessing both opportunities and challenges prevalent in the region. Noting the significance of intraregional trade, particularly for landlocked Central Asian countries, Torebaev underscored trade’s pivotal role in economic advancement.

The CATF’s track record boasts contracts surpassing $32 million and drawing over 10,000 attendees from governmental and commercial spheres across 25 nations. Facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the forum stands as a cornerstone event in the region, fostering cooperation, entrepreneurship, and trade policy enhancement.

Central Asia has witnessed commendable growth strides in the past two decades, with the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surging by an average of 6.2% annually, reaching a formidable $347 billion. Foreign trade turnover has concurrently soared, escalating sevenfold since 2000. In 2022 alone, the cumulative imports and exports of Central Asian countries neared $190 billion, underscoring the region’s burgeoning economic potential.



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