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
    East 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 52011-001
Country / Economy Regional
Kyrgyz Republic
China, People's Republic of
Project Status Active
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
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)
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
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Industry and trade / Industry and trade sector development - Small and medium enterprise development - Trade and services

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Some gender elements
Description 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.

In July 2020, the WTO General Council also endorsed Turkmenistan''s WTO observer status and welcomed the country's intent to initiate negotiations for accession within a period of five years. Technical exchanges are ongoing between the WTO Secretariat and Azerbaijan to update the draft report on the working party.

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)

The CITA 2030 Implementation Report 2018-2019 was prepared in consultation with the CAREC trade institutions, namely, the Regional Trade Group, the Customs Cooperation Committee and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Regional Working Group. Good progress has been achieved since CITA 2030's endorsement in November 2018, particularly in terms of delivering a number of regional and national interventions under CITA 2030 and RSAP 2018-2020, as well as dissemination of CITA 2030 to stakeholders. The report was well received and highly appreciated by the CAREC member countries. The report and the new Rolling Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) (2019-2021) was submitted to the 18th CAREC Ministerial Conference in November 2019 through the Senior Officials Meeting.

As of December 2019, the key achievements supported by the TA include:

(i) organization of the annual meetings of the Regional Trade Group and Customs Cooperation Committee in June 2019, which contributed to productive discussions and positive outcomes as indicated in the CITA implementation report and the development of RSAP 2019-2021;

(ii) beta version of the Trade Information Portal in the CAREC website for consultation with member countries and preparation of the baseline and target CITA results indicators based on the methodology presented at the RTG meeting in June 2019;

(iii) subregional workshop on CAREC Advanced Transit System and meeting of insurance companies in April 2019;

(iv) dissemination of CITA to wider audience, such as at the CAREC Think Tank's Forum in August 2019, publication of CITA 2030 and RSAP 2018-2020 and CITA 2030 Issues Papers in English and Russian versions, and ADB blog articles. In November 2019, ADB joined the regional conference on Productive Capacities, Trade and Sustainable Development Goals in Central Asia was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan and development partners, namely, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GIZ), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan were trade initiatives including CITA were presented; and

(v) In December 2019, a Negotiation Management Workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Multilateral Negotiations, Bertelsmann Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, World Economic Forum, and German Development Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants were delegations from the different ministries of the government of Kazakhstan and Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva to support Kazakhstan's hosting of the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference to be held in Nursultan in 2021.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still good progress in implementing planned activities under the TA:

(i) In May 2020, ADB compiled a running list of COVID-19 trade-related resources, including working papers, reports, information notes, and webinars and online seminars and training. The purpose is to raise awareness amongst CAREC trade-related agencies of current COVID-19 related information and knowledge opportunities. The list of resources is published on the CAREC portal ( and will be added to the CAREC Trade Information Portal when the latter goes live in the public domain.

(ii) Virtual policy workshop on E-commerce (28 May 2020) organized by the CAREC Institute in partnership with ADB, ADB Institute and the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute to promote e-commerce as a viable instrument for trade and enhance economic cooperation. The workshop discussed policy options bred from a joint research by the ADB and CAREC Institute on e-commerce development in CAREC.

(iii) Webinar on Facilitating Diversification and Economic Recovery through the Services Sector (2 September 2020). Attended by over 100 participants, the webinar discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by CAREC countries in enhancing services trade within the region. Enabling environment and regional cooperation were underscored. Experts from ADB, ESCAP and ADBI supported the discussions of the services study conducted with TA support.

(iv) Webinar on E-commerce and Paperless Trade (3 September 2020). Attended by over 120 participants and representatives from all CAREC countries, the webinar discussed the alignment of CAREC's legislations with international standards for e-commerce development and underscored the role of cross-border connectivity and improved customs services. Experts from ADB, CAREC Institute, UNESCAP, UNCITRAL shared their knowledge and initiatives.

(v) 3rd CAREC Regional Trade Group Meeting (10 September 2020). The Meeting, chaired by Afghanistan''s Ministry of Industry and Commerce discussed the implementation of CITA 2030 and welcomed the progress and initiatives on services trade, e-commerce, and WTO accession. Over 80 participants, including Appointed Representatives of Countries (ARCs), CAREC officials, experts and representatives from the World Trade Organization, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, CAREC Institute and ADB attended the meeting.

(vi) Assistance to Azerbaijan on WTO accession impact assessment study that will guide bilateral market access and multilateral negotiations has been initiated.

(vii) In July 2020, Turkmenistan was granted WTO observer status and in December 2020, the Seminar Series for Turkmenistan's Road to WTO Accession was launched with support from the WTO Secretariat, ADB and other development partners. The TA is supporting an impact assessment for Azerbaijan's accession, preparation of Turkmenistan's Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime.

Among the CITA deliverables for 2021 are key knowledge products on:

(a) Advancing Economic Diversification in CAREC Countries through the Development of the Services Sector (Q4 2021). The study 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) Regulatory Framework for E-commerce Development in CAREC Countries (published in August 2021). Jointly conducted by ADB and CAREC Institute, the study evaluates CAREC countries' legislative and regulatory framework and proposes actions to facilitate region's 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 as part of a series of webinars or virtual conference were organized as part of the CAREC Trade Week: Enhancing Cooperation in Digital Trade.

The 4th Meeting of the Regional Trade Group is scheduled on 30 September 2021 to update the RSAP under CITA 2030.

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

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.
Procurement There is no planned procurement for this KSTA.
Responsible ADB Officer Lazaro, Dorothea
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Public Mgt, Financial Sector and Regional Coop Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
Concept Clearance 22 Mar 2018
Fact Finding 25 Jun 2018 to 26 Jun 2018
Approval 15 Feb 2019
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 30 Sep 2021

TA 9712-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
15 Feb 2019 - 15 Feb 2019 30 Jun 2021 31 Jan 2024 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
1,600,000.00 800,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2,400,000.00 01 Apr 2022 699,073.11

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