China-CAREC cooperation to bear fruit on enhanced trade ties: Experts

BEIJING, Feb 6 (APP): Appropriate niches, cooperation and dialogue between China and the other members of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Program should be enhanced to boost trade, experts said.

The CAREC Program, initiated by the Asian Development Bank in 1997 to encourage regional cooperation, covers Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, China Daily reported.

Hans Holzhacker, chief economist of the CAREC Institute, said that a key issue for the academic body is to promote trade and find appropriate niches and cooperation with China in order to increase exports to the world’s second-largest economy.

“CAREC countries need to foster industries able to process the region’s rich endowments with natural resources like metal ores, hydrocarbons, arable land and other areas.

Apart from tourist destinations, CAREC countries have a lot to offer, from metals and rare earths to high-quality coking coal, fruits, grains, wines and apparel.

The countries are also important for transiting products between China and Europe,” Holzhacker said.

The CAREC Institute showed that amid challenges brought by the pandemic, Chinese imports from other CAREC countries fell 32 percent in May on a yearly basis.

However, the downward trend eased to 5 percent year-on-year in June and 17 percent in July.

“We don’t have data for the following months. However, judging from China’s growth in the fourth quarter, the situation likely substantially improved beginning in July,” he said.

Major Chinese imports from other CAREC members such as hydrocarbon fuels, grains and cotton still fell sharply in the second quarter, but imports of base metals, gold and foodstuffs increased substantially, according to the CAREC Institute.

Chinese exports to other CAREC countries also improved since July.

According to the institute, in May, China’s export volume decreased 36 percent on a yearly basis, but fell only 9 percent in June and rose 7 percent in July.

Second-quarter data showed that other major Chinese exports to the rest of CAREC members, such as solar cells, apparel and footwear, still declined compared to last year.

However, there were strong increases in telecommunication devices such as phones and microprocessors as well as medical devices.

China is deficient in ores and energy resources. Its commodities related to energy mainly rely on purchases from overseas, especially from other CAREC countries.