The First Meeting of ministers responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activities “Central Asia — China” was held on April 18 via videoconference, with the participation of Uzbekistan’s Minister of Investment, Industry, and Trade, Laziz Kudratov, as reported by the MITT press service.

The meeting facilitated discussions on the current status and future prospects of trade, economic, and investment cooperation between Central Asian countries and China. Topics included the liberalization and simplification of trade procedures, investment promotion, expanding the multilateral trading system, increasing mutual supply of goods, introducing digital economy, developing transport infrastructure, and strengthening regional collaboration.

Kudratov emphasized the importance of effectively utilizing the significant transit potential of the Central Asia-China region and the necessity of developing systematic measures to ensure uninterrupted cargo flow and the expansion of cross-border logistics networks.

The Minister further highlighted the significance of advancing inter-regional development. In light of this, a proposal was made to host the Forum of Heads of Regions of Central Asia and China in Uzbekistan during the second half of 2023, with the aim of bolstering partnerships among business communities and pinpointing new avenues for growth.

During the meeting, participants explored opportunities for enhancing collaboration in the realm of digital trade expansion. A proposal was put forth to develop a “Program of Economic and Trade Development in the Era of Digitalization,” which would entail creating a joint “Intelligent Silk Road” platform based on the IT parks of regional countries.

Attendees acknowledged the successful coordination of memorandums planned for signing on strengthening trade and economic cooperation, as well as collaboration in digital trade within the “China-Central Asia” framework.

At the conclusion of the meeting, all parties unanimously reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing cooperation aimed at fostering a conducive environment for economic activities between Central Asian nations and China, as well as furthering mutually beneficial collaboration in the areas of industry, investment, economy, and trade with the PRC.