Senior officials of the governments of the United States, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan today met for the Council Meeting of the U.S. - Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
The participants affirmed their shared objectives and commitments under the TIFA and emphasized its value as a mechanism to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and the countries of Central Asia, as well as within the region. They agreed to work together towards achieving the goals of the TIFA, including by expanding trade, connectivity and investment between and among the TIFA member countries with benefits that are broadly shared, inclusive of women and youth, supportive of micro, small, and medium enterprises, and beneficial to regional economic security and connectivity.
The delegations held meetings focused on a range of issues related to expanding trade and investment, including labor, women’s economic empowerment, intellectual property, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, digital trade, and customs. The participants reviewed and agreed to prioritize certain recommendations of the five TIFA Council Working Groups.
The United States appreciated economic reforms in Central Asia and highlighted that additional initiatives and capacity building could help create an enabling environment that would encourage foreign investment and private sector activity, including enhancing transparency, predictability, and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. They also noted the importance of incentivizing the diversification of economic corridors through more efficient logistics and customs procedures. The delegations recognized the importance of complementary efforts to drive economic growth through the C5+1 regional diplomatic platform.
The United States also affirmed the importance of Central Asian partners’ ongoing efforts to increase alignment between domestic labor laws and international labor standards and ensure workers can exercise their internationally recognized labor rights.
The participants celebrated the 2022 launch of a Digital Trade Working Group under the TIFA and agreed to prioritize broad stakeholder consultation in the development of measures governing the digital economy, promote trusted and secure cross-border data flows, and ensure the participation of small and medium-sized businesses in global markets.
The participants also discussed opportunities to develop more resilient supply chains in the critical sectors that underpin our economies. The parties welcome prospects for deepening cooperation with the goal of expanding trade to enhance food and energy security while also addressing climate change and growing the green economy.
In addition, the TIFA member countries discussed Central Asia’s interest in the reauthorization of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and underscored its role fostering growth in the economic relationship between the United States and its Central Asian partners.