DUSHANBE, October 17, 2014, Asia-Plus -- The activities, achievements and challenges, as well as future plans of the International Trade Center (ITC) in Tajikistan were discussed at the Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting that took place here on October 16, according to the ITC Office in Tajikistan.

ITC runs three projects in the Republic of Tajikistan, funded by the Government of Switzerland, within its Trade Cooperation Program (TCP) in Tajikistan.

The PSC was established to support the projects’ activities, as well as to ensure transparency in implementation and that the projects’ outputs respond to the country’s priorities.  The PSC consists of representatives of relevant ministries and state agencies, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), ITC and the Tajikistan private sector.

This PSC meeting followed two high ranking international economic events in Tajikistan - the Financial Times-EBRD Leadership Forum, and the Tajikistan Economic & Investment Forum, held in Dushanbe in the past two days.  Ms. Anne de Chambrier, SECO Program Manager, who attended both forums, also gave a speech at the PSC meeting.

Mr. Saidrahmon Nazriyev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, who opened the PSC meeting, evaluated the results of ITC activities in Tajikistan as successful, highlighting ITC’s contribution in the development of the textile and clothing sector, assistance to implement Tajikistan’s commitments on WTO and raising awareness of the public and private sectors on WTO.

According to Mr. Armen Zargaryan, ITC’s Program Coordinator, important aspects of the projects’ outcomes in 2013-2014 were: participation of Tajik textile and clothing enterprises in the international trade fairs in Istanbul and Moscow; sourcing mission to China for textile and clothing companies, series of WTO awareness workshops and trainings for representatives of different economic sectors of the country; WTO awareness raising through media campaigns and print materials; initiating preparation of the Tajikistan National Food Safety Strategy; conducting a study on trade obstacles faced by Tajik exporters in foreign markets; categorizing WTO Trade Facilitation Agreements; organizing trainings for the Tajik textile and clothing companies; conducting studies on organic cotton and tourism potentials in Tajikistan; preparing local  auditors on ISO 9001, etc.

The International Trade Center (ITC) projects in Tajikistan:

- Components One and TWO of SECO’s Trade Cooperation Programme (TCP) in Tajikistan. The projects’ main objective is to help Tajikistan bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules, strengthen public and private sectors’ knowledge of the opportunities and threats of WTO accession and improve the capacities of SQAM, SPS and TBT;

- Component Four of SECO’s Trade Cooperation Program (TCP) in Tajikistan. Under this component, the ITC aims to increase the export competitiveness of the textile and clothing sector, by providing sector specific support to SMEs and relevant trade support institutions (TSIs), as well as supporting respective stakeholders in taking a strategic approach to the sector’s development.  It will also explore the challenges and development potential of the tourism and handicraft sectors in Tajikistan, outlining relevant trade related technical assistance priorities;

Within its Cooperation Strategy for 2012-2015, Switzerland focuses on four sectors in Tajikistan; Health, Rule of Law, Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, and Private Sector Development. The overall goal of Swiss Cooperation in Tajikistan is to support the transition process in the country through contributing to economic development and by helping build institutions and systems which are responsive to the population’s needs.