Opening Remarks on CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation

Opening remarks by Zhao Xiaoyu, ADB Vice President, at the book launch of "Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Transport and Trade Facilitation, Manila, Philippines

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon. I am pleased to welcome you to the launching of the publication on CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation—Partnership for Prosperity.

Since 1997 ADB has actively supported the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. The CAREC covers eight countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Transport and trade are among the priorities under the CAREC.

The CAREC countries are largely located in mountainous terrains and distant from developed markets. Developing an efficient transport and trade system is crucial to achieving economic prosperity. Over the last decade, the CAREC countries experienced a number of challenges. Globalization leads to trade expansion and thus requires efficient cross-border transport. Meanwhile, new knowledge and technology have emerged, which can be used to develop and manage transport and trade facilitation infrastructure and services. In response to the challenges, the CAREC countries in 2007 agreed to develop a new regional transport and trade facilitation strategy. ADB has assisted in developing the strategy and its implementation action plan that are included in the publication. The publication is thus a fruit of partnerships between the CAREC countries and ADB, as well as other multilateral institutions (MIs) involved in the CAREC Program.

I wish to thank the governments of the CAREC countries for their support and cooperation during the preparation of this publication. I believe that increased CAREC transport and trade facilitation activities through stronger partnerships between the CAREC countries and multilateral institutions including ADB will significantly benefit the people in the CAREC region.

Thank you.