Washington to host 3rd Trans-Caspian Forum

The Caspian Policy Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold the third Trans-Caspian Forum on May 18 in Washington, D.C. in partnership with embassies of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The event, to be held at the Hall of Flags of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will bring together the policy and business leaders from the United States and seven Trans-Caspian corridor countries to discuss opportunities and challenges in enhancing their strategic engagement and explore business, trade and investment opportunities to the benefit of all parties.

After a quarter of a century of independence, the states of the South Caucasus and Central Asia are increasingly eager to develop corridors, connectivity, and cooperation among themselves to link their infrastructures, their economies, and their peoples that will further enhance their own independence. At a time when the interest in key players like Russia and China is growing on international scene, the strategic opportunities for the United States have grown significantly, presenting both challenges and new opportunities. The U.S. has been playing an important role in the development of this corridor through joint initiatives to increase regional connectivity through oil and gas pipelines, to facilitate intra-regional cooperation and trade such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Southern Gas Corridor, Lapis-Lazuli transport route and C5+1 format. While these initiatives contributed to the increased business between the United States and the corridor countries concerned, the emerging business potential of the corridor is underexplored and trade with the U.S. is significantly lagging behind in comparison with the EU and China.

Since their founding as independent states over 25 years ago, the United States has played a significant role to protect and preserve the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the eight countries of the Caspian Sea region. It also played a key role in first-generation policies and projects to develop connectivity throughout the Caspian region, especially by championing the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Southern Gas Corridor; but much more is now possible. The time is ripe once again for the United States to play a stronger role to enhance connectivity and cooperation in the region. I am pleased that the Trans-Caspian Forum is bringing together government officials, thinkers, and business leaders to identify new opportunities and define concrete recommendations for the next steps the United States can take to enhance its own role and to strengthen the countries in the region, said Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, Board Member of the Caspian Policy Center.

Trans Caspian Forum serves as a prime platform that will emphasize central role of Azerbaijan in facilitating trade, transit and connectivity in the region and the country’s potential to offer business friendly environment for overseas investments and trade, said Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States.

With this Trans-Caspian Forum, we are pleased to present a venue to bring together business leaders, foreign-policy experts, and government officials from the United States and the countries of the region to explore new directions and identify new opportunities, said Efgan Nifti, Executive Director of the Caspian Policy Center.

To register for the Forum, contact transcaspian@caspianpolicy.org. For more information about the Forum, visit transcaspianforum.org.

Caspian Policy Center (CPC) is an independent, non-profit research think tank based in Washington D.C. Economic, political, energy and security issues of the Caspian region constitute the central research focus of the Center. Established in 2016, the Center aims at becoming a primary research and debate platform in the Caspian region with relevant publications, events, projects and media productions to nurture a comprehensive understanding of the intertwined affairs of the Caspian region. With an inclusive, scholarly and innovative approach, the Caspian Policy Center presents a platform where diverse voices from academia, business and policy world from both the region and the nation’s capital interact to produce distinct ideas and insights to the outstanding issues of the region.