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Trans-Caspian Forum Showcases Opportunity, Infrastructure Along 'Modern Silk Road'

The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and its Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov praised the business and investment opportunities, trade and customs facilitation, and infrastructure development discussed April 28-29, 2016 at the Trans-Caspian East-West Trade and Transit Corridor Forum.

"We are proud to be part of this historic infrastructure and cooperation project and the impact it will have on millions of consumers and workers in the Trans-Caspian region," said Ambassador Suleymanov. "Azerbaijan stands at a crucial juncture along the Silk Road and we have always worked to promote regional integration and shared prosperity. We look forward to continuing to play a critical role in linking the people, goods and economies of the Far East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and Europe. This offers a starkly different vision to conflicts, displacement and economic divisions."

Held at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS), the forum was organized by the Embassies of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkey to the US and the SAIS Central Asia-Caucasus Institute's Silk Road Studies Program. In addition to Ambassador Suleymanov, the event featured Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kılıç and Georgian Deputy Chief of Mission George Khelashvili, as well as representatives from the four Eurasian nations, the US Chamber of Commerce, the World Bank Group and global trade and logistics companies.

The Corridor, also known as the Modern Silk Road, begins on China's coast and runs through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia before extending into Turkey, where shipments can then be distributed to European markets and consumers.

Mr. Gary Litman, Vice President of Global Initiatives at the US Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the Chamber's support to keep the US economy open to the Trans-Caspian region. "Peace is music to the ears of investors," he said.

The first day of the forum included panels on "Trans-South Caucasus Customs and Trade Facilitation: What Needs to Be Done Next," "From Sea to Sea: Integrated Regional Transit and Logistics Infrastructure," and "Commercial and Investment Opportunities: Financing, Logistics and Supply Chain." During the forum's second and final day, Eurasian delegations and US business representatives discussed regional cooperation and Trans-Caspian opportunities at private roundtable sessions.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

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