China’s state-run foreign-language news channel, CGTN, has reported that China and five Central Asian nations have vowed to further enhance their trade and investment cooperation. Commerce ministers from the six countries reportedly met on via video link on April 18 to discuss the plans, in order that announcements concerning them could be made at the upcoming China-Central Asia Summit due to be held next month.
China and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan agreed to establish the mechanism of the China + Central Asia Summit last year. The commerce ministers of the five Central Asian countries agreed to sign a series of cooperation agreements during the coming event.
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said China and the five Central Asian countries have achieved fruitful results in their cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. According to him, China’s trade volume with Central Asia over the first two months of this year has grown by 22% year-on-year, showing strong momentum in development with improved infrastructure. Cross-border e-commerce between China and Central Asia for example reportedly increased by 95% in 2022, while nearly 300 Central Asian enterprises joined China’s e-commerce platforms.
Wang said that products imported from the Central Asian countries are becoming popular among Chinese consumers. He said China will hold live-streaming sales events in May to further promote Central Asian goods.
China’s trade with Central Asia’s nations last year was valued at US$70.2 billion, a historical high. China’s imports of agricultural, energy and mineral products from the Central Asian five rose more than 50%, while the export of Chinese mechanical and electronic products to the Central Asian countries has risen 42%.
Serik Zhumangarin, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Trade and Integration said that Central Asia is now one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world with a strategic geographical location and huge economic potential. “Central Asia was the first region to implement the Belt and Road Initiative. And thanks to our joint efforts, cooperation has been restored to the pre-pandemic level and we’ve already witnessed a substantial increase in trade,” the Kazakh minister was cited as saying.
The first China-Central Asia Summit is due to take place in Xi’an with China hosting. Dates are still being confirmed but it has been pencilled in for May. Xi’an is considered the starting point of the ancient Silk Road and has many artifacts from that time.
Source : Silk Road Briefing