Asian Regional Economic Program
Pakistan has taken an important step towards joining the pilot project of the Central Asian Regional Economic (CAREC) Advanced Transit System (CATS) and Information Common Exchange. This move is aimed at streamlining and harmonizing transit documentation, establishing a unified electronic messaging system, and implementing a modern, risk-based affordable guarantee mechanism that provides incentives to compliant traders.
The Significance of CATS for Pakistan
The CATS initiative will enable Pakistan to strengthen its trade ties and connectivity with Central Asia. By aligning with the EU’s New Computerized Transit System, this advanced transit system will facilitate multimodal trade between Asia and Europe. The recent kick-off meeting held among stakeholders, including relevant departments and ministries, indicates a consensus in favor of Pakistan’s participation in CATS.
Objectives of the CATS
The primary objectives of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) CATS are to enhance supply chain security across the CAREC region, promote smoother trade flows, and reduce the overall cost of trade. By implementing a standardized and efficient transit system, the CATS aims to facilitate the movement of goods and promote economic growth in the region.
The CAREC Program and Its Vision
The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a collaborative partnership among 11 countries and development partners. Its mission is to promote development through regional cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. Guided by the vision of “Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects,” CAREC acts as a proactive facilitator of practical, results-oriented regional projects and policy initiatives that contribute to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity.
Achievements of CAREC
Since its establishment in 2001, CAREC has played a pivotal role in mobilizing $41 billion in investments as of December 2021. These investments have contributed to the development of multimodal transportation networks, increased energy trade and security, facilitated the free movement of people and freight, and laid the foundation for economic corridor development in the region.
The Scope of CAREC 2030
CAREC 2030 represents an expanded framework that provides new opportunities for development partners to engage with the region. It focuses on five operational clusters: Economic and Financial Stability, Trade, Tourism, and Economic Corridors, Infrastructure and Economic Connectivity, Agriculture and Water, and Human Development. Development partners, both existing and new, can play leading roles in specific areas, sectors, and subsectors based on their comparative advantages and contribute to policy and capacity building support as well as investment projects.
Pakistan’s decision to move forward with the Central Asian Regional Economic Program signifies its commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and trade. Joining the CATS initiative will create opportunities for smoother and more secure trade flows while reducing the overall cost of trade. As a member of the CAREC Program, Pakistan can benefit from increased economic growth, improved infrastructure, and shared prosperity in the region.