In a statement released at the China-Central Asia economic and trade cooperation forum, which was held via video link on January 17, Tajik Minister of Economic Development and Trade Zavqi Zavqizoda, in particular, noted that China became one of major trading partners of Central Asia’s nations, including Tajikistan, and the largest investor in Central Asia, the Tajik Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MoEDT) press center says.

According to him, the two-way trade between Tajikistan and China in 2021 increased by 78 compared to the previous year of 2020 and China’s share in Tajikistan’s external trade turnover last year was 13.2 percent.     

Last year, China was fourth among the major trading partners of Tajikistan, following, Russia, Kazakhstan and Switzerland.  

Meanwhile, Chinese media reports say Commerce Minister Wang Wentao noted that China's Ministry of Commerce is willing to join with economic and trade authorities of the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — to further propel economic and trade cooperation.

In the past three decades, China and the five Central Asian countries have been deepening pragmatic cooperation in economics and trade. They have established comprehensive, energetic and mutually beneficial economic and trade ties, Wang said, according to ChinaDaily.

China's trade value with the five countries has surged by more than 100 times in the past three decades, the stock of outbound direct investment from China to the five countries has exceeded $14 billion and many major products have been implemented to help with industrial upgrades, interconnection construction and improving people's livelihoods, Wang was cited as saying.

Participants from the five Central Asian countries reportedly spoke highly of the fruitful results of economic and trade cooperation between China and their countries.

They said the world economy is facing many uncertainties and all parties should join together to cope with the challenges to contain the pandemic, accelerate economic recovery and contribute more to multilateral and bilateral economic and trade cooperation and regional peace and stability.

The five Central Asia countries are willing to work with China to strengthen the connection between the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and their development strategies, to facilitate implementing more cooperation projects and help with the economic and social development of all countries, they were quoted as saying by ChinaDaily

The economic and trade authorities of the six countries reportedly released an initiative on high-quality sustainable development of China-Central Asia economic and trade cooperation during the event, which reached broad consensus on jointly expanding cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and green development.

It is to be noted that Central Asia is seen as integral to the stability and development of China’s western regions due to its geographical proximity.  Further, the regional connectivity between Central Asia and China with Europe and the Middle East has reportedly been enhanced through the Belt and Road Initiative projects.

While Central Asia does not rank highly among China’s trading partners, accounting for around one percent of China’s total imports and exports, respectively, China is one of Central Asia’s major trading partners. 

China Briefing noted on May 20, 2021 that from 2015 to 2019, export of goods from Central Asia countries to China grew by 35 percent -- from US$15,054 million to US$20,276 million, with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan reporting the fastest growth of over 50 percent.

In the same time period, goods exported from China to Central Asian countries reportedly increased by 49 percent -- from US$17,563 million to US$26,207million. Uzbekistan reported the largest growth in purchasing from China, which rose 126 percent from 2015 to 2019, whereas the goods exported from China to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan decreased.

China Briefing notes that in 2019, Tajikistan had a GDP of US$8.12 billion; its total exports amounted to US$811 million and total imports US$4.02 billion.

For imports, China reportedly was Tajikistan’s third largest trading partner in 2019, accounting for 18.2 percent of its total imports with a value of US$605 million.  For exports, China was Tajikistan’s fifth largest trading partner in 2019, accounting for five percent of its total exports.

Although China was not Tajikistan’s top trading partner, in 2019, China become the country’s fastest growing export market (up 10.5 percent) and import market (up 13.1 percent).