ASTANA — The online trade information hub, Central Asia Gateway, has been named the Best Trade Information Portal at the World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 20, reported International Trade Centre’s press service.
Since its launch in May 2023, the Central Asia Gateway has emerged as a vital resource, with 195,000 visitors benefiting from its services. It covers 280 trade flows within Central Asia and has garnered praise for simplifying and expediting trade-related information exchange. This online platform is also pivotal in promoting transparency along supply chains and reducing costs, time, and effort associated with accessing trade-related data.
Developed under the Ready4Trade Central Asia Project, the Central Asia Gateway is a product of collaboration between the European Union (EU), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This innovative platform combines the National Trade Facilitation Portals (TFP) of five Central Asia countries – Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – into a unified digital interface.
According to Kęstutis Jankauskas, EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan, the platform is essential in enhancing trade cooperation among the region’s five countries.
“It makes Central Asia a bigger and more resilient market and a stronger international trade player. It enables intraregional trade to go faster and smoother. It makes Central Asia an even more important partner of the EU,” he said.
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the ITC, highlighted the platform’s commitment to making trade faster, easier, and more cost-effective for businesses in the region, including small enterprises. She affirmed that the ITC would continue working closely with policymakers and businesses to build upon the progress achieved.
Nurlan Kulbatyrov, Deputy Director General of the QazTrade Center for Trade Policy Development, ITC’s partner in Kazakhstan, highlighted the Central Asia Gateway’s significance for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform offers these businesses opportunities to connect with new markets through an in-depth overview of cross-border formalities along Central Asian corridors.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed the expansion of the Central Asia Gateway to create a unified electronic database for commodity producers at the fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia earlier this year. This initiative will stimulate further trade and investment facilitation in Kazakhstan, which has witnessed a remarkable 80% increase in intraregional trade turnover over the past five years, reaching $10.6 billion.
Kazakhstan has operated its own information hub, Tradeinfo.kz, since 2022. It serves as a comprehensive resource, offering vital data on 50 product categories, trade statistics, links to legal regulations, trade guidelines, and various other information. The country’s platform was developed by the Kazakh Ministry of Trade and Integration and the QazTrade Center for Trade Policy Development, designated as the national partner for executing this portal, in line with the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement.
According to Zhanel Kushukova, the Vice Minister of Trade and Integration, the national trade portal is crucial in fostering the transit and transport corridor between Central Asian countries and simplifying trade processes.
“It provides entrepreneurs with a complete volume of specialized information from one source, greatly facilitating business activities. The Digital Government Awards received, testify to the effectiveness of the joint work of our countries to create conditions for entrepreneurs to enter international markets following the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement,” noted Kushukova.
The ITC is a joint agency of WTO and the UN, focused on assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transitioning economies to become more competitive in global markets. Its efforts contribute to sustainable economic development and align with the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.