TALKS WITH THE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UN OHCHR FOR CENTRAL ASIA

Published in World
Thursday, 04 November 2021 16:15

On November 3, 2021, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev met with the Regional Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Asia, Ryszard Komenda, via videoconference.

Dmitry Shlapachenko, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, also took part in the meeting.

During the meeting, the sides discussed issues related to further development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the UN specialized agencies on human rights. There was a constructive exchange of views on strengthening and protection of human rights, including implementation of the obligations and provisions of the human rights conventions in which Turkmenistan takes part.

Noting Turkmenistan's achievements in the field of human rights, the sides discussed procedures for the practical implementation of humanitarian standards in national legislation.

As is known, Turkmenistan, consistently fulfilling its obligations in the humanitarian sphere, has acceded to most UN conventions, covenants and protocols on human rights. The protection of human rights and gender development issues are reflected in the national programs of socio-economic development of Turkmenistan.

The sides also discussed the activities of the Working Group of the Interdepartmental Commission on compliance with Turkmenistan's international obligations on human rights and international humanitarian law. In this regard, the sides considered the key areas of implementation of the Joint Action Plan of the Interdepartmental Commission on compliance with Turkmenistan's international obligations on human rights and international humanitarian law and of the United Nations (UN) Mission in Turkmenistan for the second half of 2021.

Regular contacts between the Government of Turkmenistan and the International Labor Organization (ILO) for the coordination of joint projects and the organization of visits to Turkmenistan by ILO experts were emphasized.

During the talks, gratitude was expressed to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Asia for organizing and conducting meetings related to the provision of technical assistance and coordination of activities in the implementation of UN projects on human rights.

Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held in Turkmenistan

Published in World
Friday, 06 August 2021 16:55

Today, on the 6th of August 2021, the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held in the National Tourist Zone “Avaza”. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia, the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman also took part in the session.

The Presidents of Central Asian states arrived to Turkmenistan to participate to this conference in the framework of which a number of parallel events of economic and cultural scope were held, including the Economic Forum of the Central Asian states, International Exhibition of the Products of Central Asian countries, Women’s Dialogue of the States of Central Asia, as well as the International Festival of the National Cuisines of the region’s countries.  

The Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held in the Congress Hall of the National Tourist Zone “Avaza”. The event was preceded by the bilateral meetings of the heads of states. Then, the joint photographing ceremony of the Presidents of five Central Asian states took place.   

In his opening speech, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to his colleagues for accepting the invitation to visit Turkmenistan for participation to the Consultative Meeting aimed at further strengthening of regional cooperation, provision of conditions for more active and oriented steps in this regard, which is expected to become a strong mobilizing factor for effective and constructive participation of the Central Asian region to the continental and global affairs.     

The parties considered the key aspects of developing political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian collaboration between the countries of the region. A constructive exchange of views on the issues of regional stability was held. The Presidents discussed the pressing issues of regional cooperation, exchanged opinions on current topics of international development. They also agreed to accelerate the external policy cooperation, including through the regular five-sided meetings between the MFAs of the regions’ countries.    

During the session, the Presidents discussed the issues related to the implementation of resolutions adopted at the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia that was held in Tashkent on November 29, 2019. The parties noted the importance of the region from the geopolitical and geo-economic perspectives and underlined the high level of mutual understanding, trust and mutual respect between the countries that are united by century’s long historical, spiritual and cultural ties. It was emphasized that all of this is positively affecting not only the region, but the Eurasia in general.      

Special attention was paid to the establishment of favorable conditions for the partnership in the energy sphere, expansion of cooperation between the region’s countries in transport-communications field, in particular through the maintenance of effective functioning of available and by forming new transport corridors. In his speech, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said, “based on the UN documents, we are forming in Central Asia favorable political-legal and economic conditions for safe, sustainable partnership, which is oriented at the fulfillment of internal regional demand for energy carriers, as well as directed at the entrance to the world markets via the international transit corridors”.        

The Presidents exchanged views on the development of trade ties, increase of export and import operations. The agreements were reached on the diversification of mutual trade turnover and industrial cooperation.     

One of the main constituents of the agenda of the meeting was the consolidation of efforts of the region’s countries on countering the pandemic.  The Presidents agreed to facilitate the organization and encourage joint research in the area of studying the nature of new type infections, as well as the application of new methods of treatment and prevention of communicable diseases.   

Upon the outcomes of the meeting, the Joint Statement of the Heads of States of Central Asia was adopted.

Then, an official ceremony of awarding the Honorable Sign of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held.  In accordance with the decision of the Presidents of the countries of Central Asia adopted at the current Consultative Meeting, the Honorable Sign was awarded to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon for outstanding achievements in the development of friendship, good-neighborliness, mutual understanding and cooperation between the states of Central Asia, as well as for strengthening peace and security in the region, promotion of joint interests and initiatives of the region’s countries within the international community.  With the applauses of the audience, the Honorable Sign was awarded by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Then the press conference of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia, the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman took place upon the outcomes of the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia.

The same day, the Presidents visited the International Exhibition of the Products of Central Asian countries and the International Festival of the National Cuisines of the region’s countries.  

In the end of the day, the heads of states took part in the festive concert of the art and culture workers of the countries of Central Asia, as well as in the official dinner. 

Heads of the Central Asian states arrived in Turkmenistan to hold the Consultative meeting

Published in World
Friday, 06 August 2021 16:32

On August 6 in Turkmenistan, Avaza national tourist zone located at the coast of the Caspian sea, the Consultative meeting of heads of the Central Asian states, called to promote further development of multilateral regional cooperation, its growth into a new level, answering to modern realities and available potential boundaries will take place.

The day before honoured guests - President of Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Kirghiz Republic Sadyr Japarov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon arrived in Avaza national tourist zone. It is remarkable also that participation of the Tajik leader in the present Consultative meeting coincided with his state visit to Turkmenistan.

In the International airport of Turkmenbashi city, decorated with National flags of the Central Asian countries, according to the established noble tradition honoured guests were welcomed with bread and salt.

On the agenda of the present Forum is a wide spectrum of issues concerning activization of interstate partnership in its key directions, and also actual regional and international subjects. It marks itself the next important stage in cooperation of the countries of Central Asia, formation of effective long-term mechanisms of interaction, concrete definition of paramount problems, creation of necessary conditions for sustainable development of the region, its accelerated integration into world processes.

Thus, the Consultative meeting of heads of the states of Central Asia being held in Avaza national tourist zone is of great importance for further development of full format regional cooperation, attachment of more dynamical, strategic character to it that answers centuries-old principles of good neighbourhood and interests of well-being of the brotherly countries and people.

* * *

Today at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan the head of the Central Asian states have made a joint voyage by the yacht on the Caspian Sea. During the voyage leaders of the countries of the region exchanged opinions on realisation of agreements reached before and possibilities of the further development of mutually beneficial cooperation which possesses an impressive potential.

Honoured guests noted the significance of the work, including creation of green space, for maintenance of favourable climate that strengthens the status of Avaza as the sanatorium zone corresponding to the international standards.

Further the head of Turkmenistan and honoured guests together went by bus to the multipurpose sports complex "Avaza", enjoying on their way natural features and luxurious projects of the National tourist zone.

In recent years in this corner the modern sanatorium infrastructure which provides all conditions for comfortable rest and improvement of health has been developed.

The president of Turkmenistan and honoured guests familiarised themselves with the possibilities created in the multipurpose sports complex "Avaza" for practice of physical training and sports.

Heads of the Central Asian states appreciated the strategy realised by the Turkmen leader directed to protection of public health, improvement of the health of society and active way of life, development of physical training and sports movement, formation of modern profile infrastructure in the country.

The states of Central Asia will continue rendering assistance to Afghanistan in cooperation with the UN

Published in World
Thursday, 08 July 2021 11:05

Today, on July 7, a Ministerial meeting on the Afghan issues was held with the participation of the heads of external policy agencies of the countries of Central Asia through videoconferencing. The organizers of the dialogue were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. 

The session was attended by the leadership of the external policy agencies of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia, the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman, Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Afghanistan Talgat Kaliyev and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political) for Afghanistan in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Mette Knudsen.

During the meeting, the participants discussed the regional cooperation, advancement of the peace process in Afghanistan, security issues, as well as the economic development. A constructive exchange of views took place on current and future collaboration on these vectors. 

In his speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov stressed the importance of political and socio-economic support of the world community for the attainment of favorable development of the peace process in Afghanistan, the positive outcome of which is directly linked to the political, economic and social atmosphere in the region and beyond.   

The role of the countries of the Central Asia, which together with Afghanistan form a single geo-political and geo-economic space, and are linked by centuries long history, culture and inter human relations was underlined. The head of the MFA of Turkmenistan added that Turkmenistan intends to render further support to socio-economic development of Afghanistan, including through the assistance of humanitarian scope. 

The participants expressed their vision of the situation in the region and exchanged concrete proposals.

The Turkmen side has declared its intention to intensify the political and diplomatic efforts in the regional and international formats and expressed assuredness in the key role of the United Nation in the given process.  In this context, the role of the International Year of Peace and Trust was emphasized, the very name of which reflects the main mechanisms for establishing constructive ties between countries and people.

THE SECOND MEETING OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS “CENTRAL ASIA – CHINA” WAS HELD IN THE CITY OF XI’AN

Published in World
Saturday, 15 May 2021 13:09

On May 12, 2021, the second Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China” was held in the city of Xi’an of the People’s Republic of China.

In his welcoming speech, the Member of PRC’s State Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi warmly greeted his colleagues and underlined the importance of strengthening the cooperation between the external policy agencies of the states of the given format aimed at the implementation of agreements reached at the highest level and advancement of the multifaceted partnership between the countries.  

The Ministers discussed the key vectors of cooperation, and exchanged views on the expansion of trade-economic and investment ties, as well as the increase of contacts on the cultural-humanitarian track.  One of the main topics of discussion was the fight with the global pandemic and intensification of collaboration in the area of medicine, healthcare and science.   

The parties discussed the key issues of international and global agenda, as well as underlined the significance of deepening the external policy coordination aimed at the maintenance of security, stability and sustainable development.    

In his speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov said, “as the main, strategic priority of our cooperation, Turkmenistan considers the comprehensive support to the strengthening of peace, strategic and regional stability, provision of conditions necessary for secure and stable development of our friendly states and people”.  He noted the importance of mutual political trust, which is consonant with the principles of the International Year of Peace and Trust, initiated by Turkmenistan. 

The standpoint of Turkmenistan on sustaining energy, transport and ecologic security on the regional and international levels was voiced.  The importance of strengthening transport and transit communication along the main transport corridors of regional and continental scope was underlined.  It was stated that Turkmenistan intends to facilitate further the transport interconnectivity and provision of trade ties’ resilience, among others through full unfolding of transport and transit potential of the Central Asia.     

The Ministers spoke for the formation of the meeting mechanism for upholding active dialogue and practical implementation of joint initiatives in the field of trade, transport-communication systems, medicine and healthcare, scientific and technical innovations, digital economy and others. 

Upon the outcomes of the meeting, a number of documents were adopted, that is the Memorandum on the Creation of the Meeting Format of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China”, Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China” on Afghanistan, Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China” on Further Expansion of Interregional Cooperation, and Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China” on Cooperation on Countering the COVID-19.

Then the briefing of the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China on the results of the second Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs “Central Asia – China” was held.      

Head of the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia held a press-conference

Published in World
Wednesday, 06 January 2021 17:49

On the 6th of January 2021, a press-conference of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Head of the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman was held in Ashgabat.

The representatives of the local mass media and the journalists accredited in Turkmenistan participated to the event, including the foreign press that took part in the press-conference through videoconferencing. Among the participants, the representatives of the mass media of Azerbaijan, the Great Britain, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and other countries.

Opening the press-conference, N.Gherman congratulated everyone with the New Year and expressed gratitude for cooperation. She noted that in spite of the challenges faced by the humankind in the previous year, it was full of important events. “We marked the 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan which has symbolically coincided with the historic 75th jubilee of the United Nations,” noted Ms.Gherman.

She told to the participants about the important events and achievements of 2020 and highly appraised the level of cooperation between the countries of the Central Asia in political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres.

During her speech, Ms.Gherman highlighted the Final Ashgabat Document adopted upon the outcomes of the International Conference “Policy of Neutrality and Its Importance in Ensuring Universal Peace, Security and Sustainable Development” which was held in Ashgabat on December 12 of last year in honor of the 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan. As known, the given Document was published on the official languages of the UN and circulated as the documents of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.

“It is vital to note that the role of the neutrality policy in the development of peaceful, friendly and mutually beneficial relations among the countries of the world is comprehensively stated in the Final Document. It contributes to the strengthening of international peace and security on the regional and global levels,” said Ms.Gherman.

It was also underlined that the policy of neutrality urges to use the mechanisms of preventive diplomacy which is one of main functions of the UN while preventing the conflicts and in the processes of peace building.

Also, during her speech N.Gherman underlined the importance of the resolution of the UN General Assembly initiated by the President of Turkmenistan on declaring the year 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust. “For us, the International Year of Peace and Trust stands as an efficient method of mobilizing the international community for actions aimed at reinforcing peace and trust in the relations among the states, in particular on the basis of political dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation for attaining sustainable peace, solidarity and harmony,” added N.Gherman.

Turkmenistan adheres to the multilateral partnership in the format “Central Asia – European Union”

Published in World
Wednesday, 18 November 2020 14:54

During today’s 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting, the key issues of regional and international agenda were discussed. The Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan noted the active role of Turkmenistan in addressing the global challenges, as well as strengthening multilateral regional and international cooperation.     

Thus, the firm commitment of Turkmenistan to the initiatives in the area of energy security, use of ecofriendly energy, expansion of regional and international transport and transit communications was underlined. 

The parties expressed interest in the advancement of trade-economic, transport and energy cooperation and agreed to hold the First Economic Forum “EU-Central Asia” in 2021.

The issues of security and stability in the Central Asia and nearby regions were especially regarded.  In this regard, the firm adherence of Turkmenistan to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was emphasized. The importance of the Ashgabat Declaration of 2011 and the Central Asia’s Joint Plan of Action to counter terrorism was highlighted. 

The participants expressed interest in continuing cooperation between the Central Asia and the EU on combatting terrorism, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, illegal drug trafficking and cyber security threats. In this context, the Turkmen side called for the intensification of partnership in the CA-EU-UN format.

The parties discussed the advancement of intra-Afghan peace talks and underlined the importance of support to the overall reinstatement of Afghanistan.  It was noted that Turkmenistan actively works on the promotion of large infrastructural projects with participation of Afghanistan, including the    construction of the gas pipeline TAPI, power and fiber-optic communication lines on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, building of the railway lines from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.      

The participants of the session welcomed the initiative of the Government of Turkmenistan to host in December of current year in Ashgabat, an International Conference entitled as the “Policy of Neutrality and its Importance in Ensuring International Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development” devoted to the 25th anniversary of permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, as well as to organize an International High-Level Forum in the year of 2021, which has been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Peace and Trust.

The heads of the external policy agencies of the EU and Central Asia welcomed the mutual cooperation on humanitarian issues and discussed the opportunities of widening ties in the area of education, science, culture, technologies and innovations.

The Joint Communiqué was adopted upon the outcomes of the 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting.

The 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting was held

Published in World
Wednesday, 18 November 2020 14:51

On the 17th of November 2020, the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov took part in the work of the 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting that was held through videoconferencing.

The leadership of the external policy agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for International Partnerships participated to the session.

During the meeting, the participants discussed a number of key issues of political, economic and humanitarian scope taking into account the interests of both regions and expressed adherence to the partnership, aimed at the maintenance of peace, security, universal human rights and sustainable development, in full accordance with the international law.  

The cooperation on overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts were especially discussed. In this regard, the assistance of the EU to the countries of Central Asia was emphasized.

Speaking at the session, the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan stressed the efficiency of partnership between the countries of the CA, EU and the World Health Organization. It was stated that the relevant regional programme financed by the EU is aimed at strengthening the resilience of healthcare systems of the CA countries for the near-term outlook. In this regard, R.Meredov called for expanding the cooperation between the CA countries, EU and the United Nations.    

The position of Turkmenistan in regard to the implementation of the EU Strategy on Central Asia was also voiced. The Head of MFA of Turkmenistan proposed to specify the actions on practical implementation of the given Strategy including the development of the Roadmap of Cooperation for 2021. The healthcare, sustainable energy, transport connectivity and environmental protection issues were named among the priority vectors of cooperation.      

The participants highlighted the importance of progress reached in the area of the supremacy of law, gender equality and universal human rights. The regional cooperation matters in such areas as border and water management, trade facilitation and economic integration were discussed, especially in the period of COVID-19 pandemic where the EU is rendering significant financial and technical support. 

The parties agreed to continue cooperation on directions posing mutual interest and exchanged views in regard to prospects of collaboration in the format “Central Asia – European Union”.   

SPECIAL MEETING OF FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE "CENTRAL ASIA + JAPAN" DIALOGUE

Published in World
Tuesday, 11 August 2020 15:36

On August 11, 2020, a special online meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central Asia + Japan Dialogue had been held.

The meeting, which was held under the auspices of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, was attended by the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of five Central Asian countries.

As part of a constructive conversation, high-ranking diplomats discussed regional cooperation, as well as well-coordinated interaction between the CA countries and Japan, taking into account the spread of the new coronavirus infection on a global scale.

During the speeches, the effectiveness of this format of diversified cooperation, based on the principles of mutual growth, solidarity and comprehensive support in key areas of mutually beneficial partnership, was especially noted.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.O. Meredov, expressing gratitude to the head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry for the initiative to organize this ministerial online meeting, especially noted the timeliness of the meeting.

Undoubtedly, since the establishment of the Central Asia + Japan Dialogue in 2004, this format of multilateral interaction has developed significantly. The topic of discussions within this format has significantly expanded, which today covers topical issues of ensuring international and regional security, sustainable development, creating favorable conditions for effective trade-economic ties, active exchange in the cultural-humanitarian field.

As the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan noted, in these conditions, when the world community is fighting an urgent struggle against a new infection, this communication format, which unites the states of Central Asia as an important region of the planet and Japan, cannot remain aloof from solving the acute problem faced by humanity. In this context, the current dialogue of the Foreign Ministers provides an opportunity for an exchange of views on the complex situation in the world and ways to overcome it.

Based on the need to develop a global response to the challenges of our time, it is advisable to intensify the process of consolidating the efforts of the countries in countering the pandemic.

In this regard, the Turkmen side also took the initiative to develop, within the framework of the "Central Asia + Japan" Dialogue, a Program document that includes the basic principles of solidarity activities of the participating States in the fight against a new type of infection and specific measures aimed at preventing and treating diseases, caused by it.

The head of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan also expressed special gratitude to the Japanese side for their readiness to provide a grant project in the field of medicine within the framework of the Official Development Assistance Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

As is known, Turkmen doctors highly appreciate the knowledge and experience gained in the course of numerous multilateral and two-way videoconferences with leading Japanese specialists.

Currently, the constant exchange of knowledge and information on the methods of treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, medical technologies, drugs and equipment, personal protective equipment for the full use of the mechanisms of scientific diplomacy is of great importance.

It is known that over the years of partnership within the framework of this format, the participating countries have identified a number of areas of multilateral interaction, including such areas as security, economy and culture. The implementation of joint projects in these areas remains an urgent task for the near future.

During the meeting, the ministers exchanged views on the agenda of the upcoming 8th meeting of the "Central Asia + Japan" Dialogue. In particular, they discussed the possibilities of developing and adopting the Concept of partnership between the states of Central Asia and Japan in the field of security, developing a new Platform for the development of economic partnership, preparation and discussion of the Roadmap on cooperation of the participating states in the field of high technologies, as well as preparation of the Program of cooperation between the participating countries in the socio-cultural sphere.

 

IFC Helps Countries of Europe and Central Asia Boost Trade and Economic Growth

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 22 June 2016 15:11

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Georgia’s Revenue Service opened a two-day peer-to-peer learning conference on international trade in Batumi to help countries in Europe and Central Asia enhance cross-border trade and boost economic growth.
The conference brings together around 70 participants from 17 countries, including customs officials, senior members of government, and private sector players. Expert panelists come from the World Customs Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the European Commission. They will discuss ways countries can improve their competitiveness and gain access to international markets. That is considered important in Europe and Central Asia, where cross-border can be slow and expensive, holding back economic growth.
“Enhancing international trade will help bring tangible benefits to all our countries,” said Vakhtang Lashkaradze, the Deputy Director General of Georgia's Revenue Service. “We are pleased to co-host this important learning forum as we believe Georgia has a lot to share and also learn from other countries. Our joint efforts will help boost private sector growth across the region.”
The World Bank Group helps governments around the world implement measures to maximize trade competitiveness, including streamlining border clearance procedures. As a result, businesses can enjoy reduced inspection rates, simplified procedures, reduced times for clearing and transporting goods, and lowered operating costs, while also enabling government agencies to operate more efficiently.
“Governments in Europe and Central Asia have demonstrated a strong interest in simplifying international trade procedures,” said Jesper Kjaer, IFC Senior Manager, Europe and Central Asia. “This conference aims to create a learning forum on these issues and is part of our efforts to help reduce trade barriers across borders to boost economic growth in these countries.”
The initiative forms part of the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, a joint practice of the World Bank and IFC, which helps countries accelerate private sector growth by creating simple, efficient, business-friendly practices, while ensuring public interests are protected.
As part of these efforts, the Trade Facilitation Support Program is helping developing countries implement trade facilitation reforms, thus leading to increased trade, investments, and job creation. The program is supported by the Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the European Commission, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, UKaid, and USAID. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance also supported this conference. In fiscal year 2015, IFC invested almost $18 million in developing countries worldwide.

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