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Joint Statement on the Results of the Council Meeting of the U.S. - Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)
April 5, 2016
Today, senior officials of the governments of Kyrgyzstan, the United States, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan met for the 10th anniversary of the Council Meeting of the U.S.- Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Uzbekistan was represented by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Kyrgyz Republic as an observer.
The participants affirmed that TIFA is a high-level platform for dialogue to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and the countries of Central Asia.
During the plenary meeting, participants discussed the trade and investment environment in Central Asia and the United States. Participants focused on expanding trade and creating a welcoming environment to attract investment in order to facilitate regional private sector activity. Participants also examined trade, transit, and investment issues among Central Asian countries. In addition, they discussed expanding exports from Central Asia under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences for developing countries.
Working groups on customs, standards, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures met on April 4. The expert level working groups proposed using the following WTO agreements as the basis for further work: the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. To accelerate the transit of goods, they proposed implementing customs reforms and creating a regional International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) group.
Further, the participants suggested creating a Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group to promote women’s entrepreneurship in order to strengthen women’s economic opportunity in Central Asia.
At the April 5 TIFA Council Meeting, the participants agreed to these proposals and expect a decision from the government of Uzbekistan in the near future. The participants discussed and supported granting observer status to Pakistan on the TIFA Council.
The participants were positive about the results of the meeting, which will foster bilateral and multilateral trade and investment opportunities in Central Asia.
The participants agreed that the next meeting of the U.S. - Central Asia TIFA Council would take place in the United States on a date to be determined.
The TIFA Council expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for its hospitality.