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Weekly Trade Focus: Central Asia

10/06/2009 - 8:59am

Every week, the USTR website explores a new trade topic, with background information and current trade data. This week Ambassador Kirk will host US-Central Asia TIFA Council Meeting. This week's trade topic focuses on trade with the Central Asia Region.

The United States Trade Representative shares a commitment to work with the governments of the Central Asia to expand opportunities for trade and investment in the region. In 2004, the United States entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with these partners.

On October 8, 2009, Ambassador Kirk will host the fourth annual Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council meeting in Washington, D.C. with his counterparts from five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Afghanistan will participate as an observer. As part of its TIFA efforts, USTR is also working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to organize an October 7 public-private conference on U.S.-Central Asian trade and investment, entitled "Silk Road Trade and Investment: New Pathways for U.S.-Central Asia Economic Ties." The event will feature keynote remarks by Deputy USTR Demetrios Marantis. For more information on this conference, please follow this link.

The U.S.-Central Asia TIFA process represents an important avenue to further our trade and investment relationship, with the objective of benefiting both the United States and our Central Asian partners. Central Asia is already an important market for U.S. energy companies and manufacturers of autos and heavy machinery. Other U.S. goods and services exporters see real promise in the region.

The United States also has extended Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to the region's eligible beneficiary developing countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan). We are prepared to explore GSP eligibility with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as well.

To make sure U.S. investors secure the best job-creating opportunities in Central Asia, the United States currently has Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in force with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and has signed a BIT with Uzbekistan, which has not yet entered into force.

In addition to the economic benefits in this region, Central Asian countries are also critical contributors to allied efforts in Afghanistan. The Central Asian countries' contribution includes expanding cross border trade and transport links with Afghanistan, and supporting U.S. transit and logistical requirements.

For further information, please consult the USTR.gov Central Asia page here.