In business-to-business format

March 13. Kazpravda

By Olzhas Suleimen

In business-to-business formatBusiness meetings were held in the Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif, in which about 30 representatives of Kazakh and Uzbek companies and associations and about 100 Afghan businesses took part. They were organized by the mentioned countries’ Chambers of Commerce and the USAID Project on regional economic cooperation.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was represented by the companies exporting foods, pharmaceuticals, in transportation services and logistics, household products and building materials, and the Afghan business was represented by importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

Chairman of the Balkh province’s Chamber of Commerce, Mazar-i-Sharif – Arsh Yunus said the conference should give impetus to trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. In turn, the Afghan side undertakes to create favorable conditions for the development of joint ventures with the neighbors.

It was suggested to consider the possibility of establishing an association of the Central Asian Commerce Chambers that would include the five countries of the region – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. It would stimulate economic cooperation between the countries in the region, it is believed.

The leader of the USAID project on Regional Economic Cooperation Victor Prodedovich said that to expand business and export potential, the businessmen need reliable business ties and verified information. Meetings in the business-to-business format are conductive to finding potential partners and clients. He hopes that subsequent to these meetings, protocols of intentions and trade agreements will be signed for the export of Kazakh and Uzbek wares to Afghanistan.

Chairman of the Council of Balkh province Afzal Hadid, said that in the light of the measures taken by the international community for post-election reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, the government ties hopes with the expansion of trade and economic cooperation in the region and active integration of the country into these processes that are vitally important to the state. Evidence to such a quest is the III regional trade forum in Almaty held in October 2013, which clearly pointed to the need for the Central Asian business community to establish and develop business contacts with a view to profit and to meet domestic demand for essential commodities. In this regard, the Kazakh and Uzbek export wares could take up their place on the Afghan market and, conversely, products of Afghanistan must compete with goods from other countries and regions.

– One such area is the establishment of corporate relations between the business communities of Afghanistan and Central Asia, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, interested in strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation, in particular in the international trade in the region, – said the head of the province.

Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Omirtay Bitimov said that this forum is taking place at a time crucial to the people of Afghanistan, when the international community, engaged in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan are taking steps to refocus their support on the socio-economic constituent.

Of critical importance are the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan hopes that the elected president will enjoy public support.

In the transitional period of modern Afghan history, the role of regional cooperation enhances, to which Kazakhstan contributes too. There are Afghan students in Kazakhstan, getting a free education; it annually provides humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan by way of foods, building social infrastructure facilities in Afghanistan. In short, the Government of Kazakhstan supports the peace process in Afghanistan. It is deemed expedient for the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan to continue to work on bringing the national standards in line with the international requirements- in transit and customs tariffs in order to remove existing barriers to the expansion of trade and economic cooperation in the region.

The business meeting will open up new opportunities to the countries and help establish business ties. During the talks, the meeting participants exchanged views on bilateral and multilateral trade and economic relations and discussed the requirements for the supply of goods from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, as well as for export in the opposite direction. All this will contribute to the long-term strategy for the New Silk Road, as one of its objectives is to improve the economic stability of Afghanistan through the development of trade and regional cooperation.