DUSHANBE , March 3, Asia-Plus - On Thursday March 2, the World Bank launched the Tajikistan Trade Diagnostic Study, part of a series of Trade Diagnostic Studies prepared for the countries of the Europe and Central Asia region. The World Bank team of authors presented the study to Government officials and representatives of international organizations engaged in trade facilitation activities within Tajikistan , at a meeting, which took place in the World Bank Country Office in Dushanbe . The study benefited from generous financial support from the World Bank and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

Mr. Sudharshan Canagarajah, the World Bank Country Economist for Tajikistan , telling the study-presenting ceremony, ”Trade has played an integral part in Tajikistan ’s spectacular economic growth performance in the last five years.”  At the same time, he noted that the study clearly showed that there were further trade barriers and investment constraints, “which need addressing if Tajikistan is to sustain the high economic growth over the medium term.”

According to information fro the World Bank Dushanbe Office, the Study focuses on policy settings for trade, non-tariff barriers, access to the country and foreign exchange earnings and spending for Tajikistan . It addresses issues of trade policy, internal transport, business climate, customs, transportation and visa regime, FDI promotion, and WTO accession. Particular emphasis is given to reforms in the cotton subsector, along with improved efficiency of the energy and aluminum sectors. The study highlights microeconomic constraints of growth in key sectors associated with a difficult political economy.

The primary objective of the Trade Diagnostic Study is to inform the Government on how to improve access to and reduce the economic distance from foreign markets. In practice, this also requires improved institutional capacity and a better business climate as these issues are all interrelated. Three challenges make the trade agenda for Tajikistan particularly daunting: the remote, landlocked, and mountainous geographic position of the country, the challenging regional political setting, and weak institutions plagued by corruption. Tajikistan has one of the highest logistical costs for trade and transport and this account for almost 27% of the GDP.  The report provides more in-depth statistics on various aspects of the trade and transport sectors.

The Study proposes a number of short and medium-term recommendations to address these key issues. It provides analytical underpinning for a policy dialogue in these areas and suggests to the Government some concrete steps aimed at improving the trade environment and its further facilitation.