Supporting inclusive development through trade and digitalization in Kazakhstan − with Ready4Trade Central Asia (en)
(Geneva/Nur-Sultan) − Businesses in Kazakhstan can look forward to more open trade with neighbouring countries and further afield with the Ready4Trade Central Asia project put in place by the Ministry of Trade and Integration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, QazTrade, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
This EU-funded initiative implemented by ITC aims to spur an inclusive and sustainable economic development in Kazakhstan by boosting intra-regional and international trade and minimizing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of Kazakhstan.
Stakeholders reviewed the initial outcomes of Ready4Trade as well as the next steps at a high-level online event held on 04 December 2020.
Ready4Trade is materializing at an opportune time as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Kazakhstan are suffering from the devastating effects of the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. MSMEs need to build resilience and adapt to the growing digitalization of economies as it is imperative, they are able to mitigate the risks they might face in these turbulent times. In this new reality, Ready4Trade's plans have become even more relevant.
- The Minister of Trade and Integration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Bakhyt Turlykhanovich Sultanov highlighted the high potential for the development of the economy of Kazakhstan both within the Central Asian region and beyond - with the world community and the EU in particular, thanks to the implementation of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project with all its components.
- H.E. Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Kazakhstan stated: 'I believe it is very fortunate and timely to have our Ready4Trade programme in Central Asia, as it will give us an opportunity to bring about a solid trade policy conducive to an enhanced regional integration, resilience and prosperity. These are the key pillars of the EU Strategy for Central Asia, which become even more relevant in preparation for a post COVID-19 world.'
- ITC Executive Director and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Pamela Coke‑Hamilton said: 'This ambitious project signals a renewed shift to boosting trade-led growth in Central Asian countries. ITC is pleased to work with policymakers and the business community to support a more inclusive and sustainable approach to economic development particularly by modernizing certain key areas such as trade facilitation and e-commerce.'
In Kazakhstan, Ready4Trade targets two key areas − trade facilitation and e-commerce:
- Trade facilitation:
Introducing the right trade-facilitation measures should have massive positive effects on the Kazakh economy by boosting the speed and efficiency of cross-border trade procedures while reducing costs. Ready4Trade supports policymakers in enacting measures to enhance the transparency of cross-border regulatory requirements, remove regulatory and procedural barriers to trade and simplify existing procedures for cross-border trade. These measures will also strengthen the capacity of businesses to comply with trade formalities and standards and enhance women's skills and confidence to engage in international trade.
Digitally enabled trade can drive economic growth and create jobs for young people, women and poor communities. It can also help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) move from the informal to the formal sector and from domestic to international markets. Ready4Trade supports MSMEs to identify new markets and trade online nationally, regionally and internationally. Offline MSMEs benefit from specific help to create a digital presence, while more digitally advanced MSMEs receive support to increase visibility and improve their current offering. Members of business associations benefit from e-commerce training and awareness-raising activities. The project also looks at supporting players in the e-commerce ecosystem to further strengthen the resilience and breadth of Kazakhstan's e-commerce sector. Last but not least, Ready4Trade is working in partnership with UNCTAD to review Kazakhstan's existing e-commerce related legislations and support the development of a new e-commerce regulatory framework.
Keynote speakers at the 04 December meeting included H.E. Mr. Bakhyt Sultanov, Minister of Trade and Integration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mrs. Zhanar Aitzhanova, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
During this stocktaking exercise, participants discussed:
- conclusions from the inception phase, which has allowed the project to customize its approach to Kazakhstan's specific needs
- results achieved in Kazakhstan during the first months of the implementation phase (which began in July 2020 after an initial six-month inception period)
- future activities to ensure that the project moves forward in the right direction
Kazakhstan is one of the five beneficiary countries of the EU-funded Ready4Trade project implemented by ITC. More information: intracen.org/ready4trade/
Stay connected: #Ready4Trade #CentralAsia
With the project 'Ready4Trade Central Asia', the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs). The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
More information: intracen.org/Ready4Trade
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
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