Published 7 August 2017
One of the key priorities for the One Belt One Road Initiative is "unimpeded trade". This paper looks at what that means for Central Asia, which has emerged as a key transportation hub in the OBOR project. As a landlocked region, previously considered remote and inaccessible, the new investments and upgrades in rail and road connectivity have the potential to turn the region into a crossroads of trade between East and West. However, that potential can only be realised if complementary reforms are put in place to ensure the smooth flow of goods across borders. This paper analyses the trade policy objectives of five countries in Central Asia, the problems faced by traders on the ground and the regional and multilateral priorities for trade facilitation in the region. It then asks whether OBOR is likely to lead to an improved trade environment. The paper concludes that OBOR alone is insufficient to achieve this outcome and that the region will need to look to implementation of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement plus regional initiatives to address the specific constraints faced.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "One Belt One Road (OBOR)". More information here: https://www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1652