By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Connecting trade, people and economies, the modern Trans-Caspian corridor has matured to strategic importance with extensive and integrated network of infrastructure, special economic zones, harmonized customs, cross-border procedures and more along this route.
Azerbaijan will be represented at the next 4th Trans-Caspian Forum which will be held on May 22-23, 2019 in Washington D.C., the U.S., says the event’s website.
Executive Director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication Vusal Gasimli, Vice President for Investments and Marketing of SOCAR Elshad Nasirov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov, Deputy Minister of Transportation and High Technologies Elmir Valizade and Chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Rauf Valiyev, are among the speakers.
Reportedly, policy and business leaders from the U.S. and the Trans-Caspian corridor countries will come together at the Forum to discuss opportunities and challenges in enhancing their strategic engagement and explore business, trade and investment opportunities to the benefit of all interested parties.
Within the Forum framework, discussions will be held in the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Heritage Foundation will host the Summit’s second day luncheon to stimulate intellectual exchange on the way ahead.
“The Trans-Caspian Trade and Transit Corridor is a regional integrator, trade facilitator and reliable transit connecting link between Europe and Asia. Comprising Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the west, and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to the east of the Caspian Sea, this corridor brings together more than 200 million strong markets and 400 billion in overall trade while connecting economies of the European Union and China along with access to Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India,” reads a message on the website of the event.
The U.S. has been playing an important role in the development of this corridor through joint initiatives to increase regional connectivity through oil and gas pipelines, to facilitate intra-regional cooperation and trade such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Southern Gas Corridor, Lapis-Lazuli transport route and “C5+1” format. While these initiatives contributed to the increased business between the U.S. and the corridor countries concerned, the emerging business potential of the corridor is under-explored and trade with the U.S. is significantly lagging behind in comparison with the EU and China.
Building on the strategic partnerships forged between the U.S. and the corridor countries concerned and emerging business potential of the region, the Trans-Caspian Forum presents a leading platform to discuss the U.S. engagement with the strategically important Trans-Caspian corridor including investments and development of strategic infrastructure for benefiting the corridor countries, the U.S. and the business community concerned.
The prevous Trans-Caspian Forum was held on May 18, 2018 in Washington D.C. in partnership with the embassies of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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