Smoother trade and new business opportunities: that’s what businesses in Kyrgyzstan can look forward to with the activities organized under the Ready4Trade Central Asia initiative.
With this project, the Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have joined forces to provide Kyrgyzstan with the necessary impetus for an inclusive and sustainable economic development through an increased intra-regional and international trade. Ready4Trade’s activities will in turn help minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Kyrgyzstan.
Ready4Trade is materializing at the most opportune time as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kyrgyzstan are suffering from the devastating effects of the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic. SMEs need to build resilience and adapt to the growing digitalization of economies, as to be better equipped to address the challenges they face in these turbulent times. In this new reality, Ready4Trade’s action plan has become even more relevant.
High-level stocktaking exercise
During a high-level online event held on 31 March 2021, stakeholders reviewed the initial outcomes of Ready4Trade as well as scheduled next steps. Keynote speakers included H.E. Mr. Ulukbek Karmyshakov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, H.E. Mr. Eduard Auer, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic and Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- H.E. Mr. Daniyar Imanaliev, First Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic: “With the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs are suffering the most from the global economic recession. It is essential to strengthen the SMEs’ resilience, and help them mitigate the risks they might face and adapt to the new economic paradigm of digitalization. In this regard, we consider the Ready4Trade initiative’s activities implemented by ITC with the EU’s support as timely and important to address these economic challenges”.
- H.E. Mr. Eduard Auer, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic: ‘The European Union aims at improving economic relations, and at boosting trade and infrastructural connectivity. Investment and better regional connectivity as well as improved links with Europe may help to strengthen Central Asian economies. They will in turn boost regional trade and make European markets more accessible. Ready4Trade has shown that with joint efforts, Kyrgyzstan’s exports to foreign markets have the potential to help expanding the economy and support growth and job creation. We remain committed to further strengthen our ties with Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan in particular.’
- ITC Executive Director and United Nations Assistant Secretary- General Pamela Coke-Hamilton: ‘‘This ambitious project signals a renewed effort to boost trade-led growth in Central Asian countries. ITC is pleased to work with the government of Kyrgyzstan and the business community to support a more inclusive and sustainable approach to economic development particularly by modernizing certain strategic areas such as trade facilitation and e-commerce, in line with the National Development Strategy’
During this stocktaking exercise, participants discussed:
- The conclusions from the 6-months inception phase, which has allowed the project to customize its approach to Kyrgyzstan’s specific needs
- Results achieved in Kyrgyzstan during the first months of the implementation phase, which began in July 2020
- Future activities to ensure that the project moves forward in a way that is best fitted to the Kyrgyz environment
2 areas of focus: trade facilitation and e-commerce
Ready4Trade plans to achieve its goal by enhancing transparency of cross-border requirements, removing regulatory and procedural barriers, strengthening business capability to comply with trade formalities and standards, as well as by improving cross-border e-commerce. Activities under Ready4Trade are thus organized around 2 key areas, i.e. trade facilitation and e-commerce:
Introducing the right trade-facilitation measures should have massive positive effects on the Kyrgyz 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. The project 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 drives economic growth and creates jobs for young people, women and poor communities. It can also help SMEs reach new target markets internationally. Ready4Trade supports SMEs to identify new markets and trade online nationally, regionally and internationally. Offline SMEs benefit from specific help to create a digital presence, while more digitally advanced SMEs receive support to increase visibility and improve their current offering. Members of business associations benefit from e-commerce training and awareness-raising activities. Furthermore, Ready4Trade will support the formulation of a national e-commerce strategy effective diagnostics, policy advice and customized strategy development, to leverage Kyrgyzstan’s strengths while tackling the bottlenecks and challenges that impede e-commerce in the country.
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 and in the project’s leaflet.