Regional : Implementing the Integrated Trade Agenda in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program

Sovereign Project | 52011-001

The TA will support the implementation of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 under the framework of CAREC 2030 Strategy - specifically, the three-year rolling strategic action plan of CITA.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Lazaro, Dorothea
    Central and West Asia Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
  • Sector
    • Industry and trade
Project Name
Implementing the Integrated Trade Agenda in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
Project Number
Country / Economy
  • Regional
  • Afghanistan
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Mongolia
  • Pakistan
  • China, People's Republic of
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
Project Status
Project Type / Modality of Assistance
  • Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9712-REG: Implementing the Integrated Trade Agenda in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
Source Amount
Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund US$ 800,000.00
People's Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund US$ 800,000.00
TA 9712-REG: Implementing the Integrated Trade Agenda in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (Supplementary)
Source Amount
Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund US$ 800,000.00
Strategic Agendas
  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Regional integration
Drivers of Change
  • Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
  • Governance and capacity development
  • Knowledge solutions
  • Partnerships
  • Private sector development
Sector / Subsector
  • Industry and trade / Industry and trade sector development - Small and medium enterprise development - Trade and services

Some gender elements
The TA will support the implementation of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 under the framework of CAREC 2030 Strategy - specifically, the three-year rolling strategic action plan of CITA.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
CAREC 2030 provides the mandate to develop a trade strategy with forward-looking options and possibilities and address the increasingly intertwined issues of trade policy and trade facilitation in a synergistic manner.

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth promoted

Growth potential in CAREC members enhanced

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

policy measures on the integration of CAREC countries with the global economy improved

Progress Toward Outcome
The CAREC countries remain committed to continuing engagement for policy reforms and regional cooperation to achieve the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 which promotes trade expansion through increased market access, greater diversification and stronger institutions for trade. Turkmenistan was granted active observer status in the WTO in February 2022 and is preparing for accession in coordination with the WTO Secretariat and with support from development partners including ADB. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan remain engaged in the accession process. Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement was complete for the PRC and Georgia and on track for most CAREC countries; 46% of mandatory provisions were implemented. Azerbaijan and PRC joined the UN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade. Countries continue to align with the WTO SPS Agreement, while Uzbekistan acceded to the International Plant Protection Convention in 2020.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

Market access increased

Greater economic diversification promoted

Institutions for trade strengthened

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Progress has been achieved since CITA 2030's endorsement in November 2018 in the delivery of regional and national interventions under the Rolling Strategic Action Plans (RSAP) from 2018-2020 to 2021-2023. RSAP 2022-2024 will be submitted to the 21st CAREC Ministerial Conference in November 2022 through the Senior Officials Meeting.

As of September 2022, the main achievements supported by the TA include:

(i) Organization of the annual meetings of the Regional Trade Group and Customs Cooperation Committee, which contribute to productive discussions and positive outcomes as indicated in the annual CITA implementation report and RSAPs. The 4th RTG meeting (28 September 2021) endorsed RSAP 2021-2023, and discussed the outcomes and recommendations of CAREC Trade Week. The 20th CCC meeting (30 September 2021) discussed countries recent policies, digitalization projects, and innovative technologies adopted to facilitate trade and e-commerce.

(ii) A key event at the sidelines of these meetings was CAREC Trade Week: Enhancing Cooperation in Digital Trade (21-23 September 2021). The E-Commerce Development in CAREC Countries: Assessment and the Way Forward webinar (21 September 2021) presented the two joint ADB-CAREC Institute studies on e-commerce which assessed the legal and regulatory environment and infrastructure gaps. The E-Commerce Development and the Role of the Private Sector: Experience from the People's Republic of China webinar (22 September 2021) provided lessons on alleviating poverty and responding to the pandemic via e-commerce. The CAREC Conference on Digital Trade and Innovations (23 September 2021) launched the joint ESCAP-CI Digital Trade and Sustainable Trade Facilitation Report: CAREC 2021, and shared countries' digitalization initiatives.

(iii) Ongoing initiatives on paperless trade include a scoping study to enhance and integrate Azerbaijan's Customs national single window with other agencies. ADB and UNECE co-organized a virtual regional workshop on the Digitalization of Trade Documents in the Shymkent-Tashkent-Khujand (STKEC) Region (25 May 2022) focusing on documents accompanying goods transported by road or rail.

(iv) ADB and the USAID Future Growth Initiative co-organized a webinar series Toward a Central Asian E-Commerce Market (May 2022) featuring ongoing work of development partners, best practices and enabling the environment, experiences from other regions to deepen the e-commerce agenda, and private sector views on priority challenges to cross-border e-commerce. An 18-session training series on cross-border e-commerce for national technical vocational educational and training institutions was organized by the China Association of Trade in Services (CATIS), CAREC Institute and ADB-PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative (RKSI) (every Saturday from 5 March to 2 July 2022). Further, ADB shared CAREC experience, trends and best practices in regional cooperation on e-commerce during the Cross-Border E-Commerce Regional Workshop for PACER Plus Parties held virtually (13-15 September 2022).

(v) A Forum on Developing Sustainable Economic Zones in CAREC Countries co-organized by ADB with the Mongolia Ministry of Economy and Development, World Free Zones Organization, and CAREC Institute (13-14 September 2022) discussed the new generation of economic zones, best practices from the region and beyond, and mechanisms to attract investments while promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability. This was followed by the first of CAREC Roundtable Series on Emerging Regional Trade, Transportation, and Logistics Landscape: Supply Chain Connectivity and Resilient Border Operations in the CAREC Region (15 September 2022), co-organized with the Mongolia Ministry of Economy and Development. The conference discussed current challenges faced and outlined the prospects and trade policy directions to enhance cross-border movement of goods, mitigate the risks of supply chain disruptions, and enable sustainable economic recovery. Both were hybrid physical and virtual events with over 100 participants.

(vi) An ex-ante impact assessment of Azerbaijan's accession to the WTO was conducted that could guide its bilateral market access and multilateral negotiations. The results were discussed with government at a Stakeholders'Seminar (16 March 2022). Support is being provided to Turkmenistan in its accession preparations in close coordination with the WTO Secretariat. A High-Level Launch of the Work Program on the Preparation of the Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime took place (5 July 2022) with other development partners.

(vii) Work is underway to assess issues on technical regulations and standards in CAREC. A preliminary assessment that identified gaps and challenges and highlighted the multiplicity of standards and varying conformity assessment procedures was presented at the 4th RTG meeting.

(viii) The CAREC Trade Information Portal was launched in September 2021 and is regularly updated with available data. As part of CITA 2030 outreach, the CAREC Trade newsletter Trade Insights and News was first released in March 2022. Released quarterly, it features insights from policy dialogues and knowledge-sharing events, outcomes of investment and technical assistance projects, knowledge products and services and upcoming events.

Among the key knowledge products delivered under CITA are:

(a) Developing the Services Sector for Economic Diversification in CAREC Countries was published in December 2021 and launched in an RCI-POD Webinar (15 March 2022). It identifies key service industries with strong potential in CAREC economies and discusses the elements of an enabling environment for services and specific actions for CAREC countries.

(b) E-Commerce in CAREC: Laws and Policies was published in August 2021. Jointly conducted by ADB and CAREC Institute, it evaluates CAREC countries'legislative and regulatory framework and proposes actions to facilitate domestic and cross-border e-commerce. The publication was launched at a virtual conference on E-Commerce Development in CAREC Countries: Assessment and the Way Forward on 21 September 2021.

(c) E-Commerce in CAREC Countries: Infrastructure Development was published in March 2022. Jointly conducted by ADB and CAREC Institute, the study provides recommendations to improve internet infrastructure, payment systems, delivery and logistics as well as develop the e-commerce market and leverage existing international initiatives and cooperate with the private sector.

The 5th Meeting of the Regional Trade Group is scheduled on 18 October 2022 to review progress of implementation of CITA 2030 and agree on deliverables, which includes the CAREC Digital Trade Forum and RSAP 2022-2024 that will be reported to the 21st Ministerial Conference through the National Focal Points' Meeting.

Geographical Location
Afghanistan - Nation-wide; Azerbaijan - Nation-wide; China - Nation-wide; Georgia - Nation-wide; Kazakhstan - Nation-wide; Kyrgyz Republic - Nation-wide; Mongolia - Nation-wide; Pakistan - Nation-wide; Tajikistan - Nation-wide; Turkmenistan - Nation-wide; Uzbekistan - Nation-wide

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation

During Project Design
Under the CAREC Strategy 2030, there is a need to develop a new trade strategy that would discuss the increasingly intertwined issues of trade policy and trade facilitation while expanding to other trade-linkages within CAREC 2030's other operational clusters. For purposes of developing the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030, a regional workshop was held in Bangkok in December 2017. Thereafter, a consultation paper with guiding questions was circulated for official comments of CAREC countries in February 2018. Subsequently, a series of stakeholders consultations were attended by trade-related agencies from CAREC members, development partners and international organizations in Almaty and Ulaanbaatar in March 2018, in Tbilisi and Beijing in April 2018 and in Islamabad in August 2018. A high-level consultation for private sector perspective was organized at the Astana Economic Forum in May 2018. The CITA Working Paper was reviewed at the inaugural meeting of CAREC's Regional Trade Group and Senior Officials Meeting in June 2018 and at the National Focal Points Meeting in October 2018. CITA 2030 and its rolling strategic action plan (RSAP) 2018-2020 was endorsed at the 17th CAREC Ministerial Conference on 15 November 2018. The proposed TA will support the implementation of CITA 2030, particularly the activities under the three-year RSAP 2018-2020.
During Project Implementation
CITA 2030 is designed to be consultative thus embedded in activities are opportunities to share knowledge and experiences. Policy dialogues, capacity building events, meetings bring together stakeholders to bring out ideas, comments and suggestions that builds consensus on regional priorities.Appointed representatives of CAREC countries and development partners participated at the 2nd Regional Trade Group meeting in June 2019. The meeting discussed the progress of CITA and the implementation of activities under the RSAP. To maintain its relevance, a new RSAP for 2019-2021 has been deliberated at the meeting and reported to the Senior Officials Meeting in June 2019 and National Focal Points in September 2019 for endorsement at the 18th Ministerial Conference in November 2019.In addition, an informal meeting among development partners with trade-related programs was organised in June 2019 to create synergies and minimize duplication of efforts. To keep the RSAP relevant and address the issues and priorities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey was conducted among CAREC countries on CAREC trade measures and assistance required.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services
ADB will engage the consultants following the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated project administration instructions and/or staff instructions. Individual consultants will be recruited since a wide range of experience and expertise are required and specific knowledge of CAREC program and countries. Lump-sum or output-based contracts will be considered.
There is no planned procurement for this KSTA.


Responsible ADB Officer
Lazaro, Dorothea
Responsible ADB Department
Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division
Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit, CWRD (CWRC)
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank


Concept Clearance
22 Mar 2018
Fact Finding
25 Jun 2018 to 26 Jun 2018
15 Feb 2019
Last Review Mission
Last PDS Update
28 Sep 2022


TA 9712-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
15 Feb 2019 - 15 Feb 2019 30 Jun 2021 31 Jul 2024 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
1,600,000.00 800,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2,400,000.00
Cumulative Disbursements
Date Amount
14 Feb 2024 2,082,173.83

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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

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Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor | Address Executing Agency Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
Research and Development Technical Assistance Technical Assistance 9712 25 Aug 2023 Zeptos LLC (GEORGIA) | 40 Shartava Street, Tbilisi 0160, Georgia Asian Development Bank 199,520.00

Procurement Plan

None currently available.