Last year’s trade turnover between the Central Asian countries topped US$ 12.2 billion, a 35% increase compared to 2017, Uzbek Deputy PM in charge of investments and foreign economic relations, Elyor Ganiyev announced at the first Central Asian Economic Forum on Friday in Tashkent.

He noted that the volume of trade within Central Asia still remains “at a relatively low, modest level.”

“We have to state that so far our countries are rather trading with third countries than with each other. The share of the four countries of the region in Uzbekistan’s foreign trade turnover is only 10% of the total. Nearly the same is the picture in other countries of Central Asia. Therefore, our government’s task is to contribute to many fold increase in the volume of trade in goods between the countries of the region,” he underscored.

Kazakh Deputy PM Zhenis Kasymbek told about his country’s plans to increase exports and imports in the region. The analysis by Kazakh officials has identified over 50 items that Kazakhstan could increase supplies to the Central Asian market – metallurgical, agriculture, chemical, food items, pharmaceuticals, building material and so on.

“There are items that Kazakhstan is importing from other countries (other than CA), while it could import from its neighbors,” he added.

Citing data from PSG consulting company, Zhenis Kasymbek, said that the countries of Central Asia could draw US$ 70 billion of investments to the non-raw sector in the medium term.

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