Alikhan Smailov calls for strengthening transport and logistics systems integration in ECO area

Within the framework of working visit to Uzbekistan, made on behalf of the Head of State, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov took part in the 16th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

In his speech, Alikhan Smailov noted that the ECO unites an important strategic region of the world with huge reserves of natural resources, which are of crucial importance not only for the participating countries, but also for the entire world economy.

In general, ECO states cover an area of 8 million square kilometers with a population of about 500 million people and a combined GDP of $2 trillion. 

"This is evidence of the significant economic potential of the Organization, allowing to set very ambitious tasks for further growth of its authority in the international arena," Prime Minister said. 

According to him, one of the priority areas for strengthening cooperation should be the stimulation of inter-regional trade. 

"At the end of last year, trade turnover of Kazakhstan with ECO countries increased by 40% and reached $16.5 billion. However, for 8 months of this year trade turnover decreased by 3%. To increase these indicators we are ready to export to each country of the Organization additionally on average about 100 types of goods," Alikhan Smailov stressed. 

He added that the republic is implementing large-scale projects to build cross-border hubs, which will increase the volume of transportation of processed and food products.

Thus, one of the key points of growth in the development of modern cross-border trade and logistics infrastructure is the international center of industrial cooperation "Central Asia" on the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border. A similar industrial trade and logistics complex will also be built on the border with Kyrgyzstan.

"Along with this, we propose to strengthen cooperation within the framework of ECO with the use of temporary storage warehouses already established and functioning in Kazakhstan along the perimeter of our borders," the Prime Minister said. 

As Alikhan Smailov noted, it is also important to develop transport interconnectivity of the region, as 7 out of 10 ECO member states do not have access to the world ocean. 

Today Kazakhstan actively participates in infrastructure and logistics projects, giving priority attention to the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. In order to increase its potential, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are implementing roadmaps for synchronized debottlenecking and development of the Middle Corridor until 2027.

"They will allow to significantly increase the capacity of the route," the Head of Government emphasized. 

According to him, the Beineu-Shalkar highway will be built to connect Uzbekistan with the western regions of Kazakhstan, which will serve to complete the formation of the 8th TRACECA highway corridor.

"We are also actively unlocking the potential of our seaports on the Caspian Sea. A container hub in the port of Aktau and a multifunctional terminal "Sarzha" in the port of Kuryk will be built. The construction of separate station tracks at checkpoints with China for Central Asian countries is planned. We intend to systematically increase cargo traffic in this direction and by 2030 to bring it to 500 thousand containers per year," Alikhan Smailov said. 

Prime Minister added that at the same time Kazakhstan is taking measures to unlock the potential of the transport corridor "North-South". For the development of this route a Road Map has been developed jointly with Iran, Turkmenistan and Russia, the implementation of which will increase the capacity of the corridor from 10 to 15 million tons by 2027. 

The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railroad is also of particular importance as the shortest route between the ECO states in Central Asia and the Middle East. For 9 months of the current year, the cargo flow along this route towards Iran increased by 9% and exceeded 1.5 million tons.

"In general, it seems advisable to strengthen joint work both on removing administrative barriers and deepening the integration of transport and logistics systems," Alikhan Smailov emphasized. 

As another important priority of cooperation Prime Minister designated industrial cooperation. According to him, today more than 13 thousand joint ventures with capital from ECO countries operate in Kazakhstan, about 1.8 thousand of them were registered only for the last year.

"Currently, 26 projects worth about $2.7 billion are under implementation with the ECO countries in such sectors as mechanical engineering, metallurgy, light and chemical industry, construction industry and subsoil use. We invite business partners to joint realization of new high-tech projects," the Prime Minister said. 

In conclusion, Alikhan Smailov noted that Kazakhstan is committed to the principles of ECO and is ready to make every effort to achieve common ambitious goals.

#Alikhan Smailov #The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan #ECO #International Cooperation #Working visit

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