This week, USTR will hold the fifth meeting of the United States-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council. This week's trade spotlight highlights the importance of the TIFA.
In June 2004, the United States and the five Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan signed the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The TIFA has provided an important mechanism for the five countries to get together and discuss ways to improve trade and investment between Central Asia and the United States, with Afghanistan as an observer. This year marks the 20-year anniversary of independence for the five Central Asian countries and the seven years since the signing of the TIFA.
Reducing barriers to trade and investment in Central Asia help U.S. exporters, farmers, ranchers and workers and also help Central Asian consumers gain access to desired goods from the United States. During the first seven months of 2011, U.S. goods exports to Central Asia are 28.9 percent higher than during the same time period in 2010.
USTR is working with the five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan to identify and reduce trade and investment barriers that exist in each of the countries and provide incentives for addressing those barriers. As part of the sixth TIFA Council meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, USTR hosted a meeting with the American private sector and Central Asian and Afghanistan government representatives to exchange views how to improve the conditions for trade and investment in all of the countries. The TIFA Parties hope to include a private sector portion to all future TIFA-related meetings both in the United States and in the Central Asian region.
The United States will continue to work through the TIFA to encourage greater collaboration and coordination on trade and investment issues in Central Asia and Afghanistan. It is clear that the region would greatly benefit economically from such action and an improved economic situation could lay the groundwork for greater stability in the region.