World Export Development Forum 2023 Session: Landlocked Developing Country Business Talks

On 26 June 2023, landlocked developing countries (LLDCs)’ businesses and government representatives discussed specific needs, aspirations, and the unique challenges they face at the Landlocked Developing Country Business Talks held in the framework of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2023 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program co-organized the session with the International Trade Centre (ITC); United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and International Think Tank for Land Locked Developing countries.

ADB led the roundtable discussion on infrastructure supporting enhanced trade participated in by CAREC landlocked countries—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, and Turkmenistan—and the People’s Republic of China.  Dorothea Lazaro, Regional Cooperation Specialist, Public Management, Financial Sector and Regional Cooperation Division, East Asia Department facilitated the session where government representatives and businesses shared specific needs, priorities, and opportunities in infrastructure development and investments within their respective countries. ADB is supporting the implementation of the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and assisting CAREC members to integrate into the global economy.

Parallel roundtables were held on regional connectivity (UN-OHRLLS), trade development (EBRD), and inclusive trade facilitation (ITC). The consultations emphasized the need for streamlined customs procedures, improved infrastructure, digital connectivity, access to finance and inclusive reforms. They have also underscored the importance of capacity-building initiatives, knowledge-sharing platforms, and public-private partnerships in enhancing trade competitiveness and market access. The outcomes and concrete plans of action arising from the public-private consultations will feed into the Third United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in 2024.

The WEDF 2023 that took place between June 26-29 with theme on Diversify with Green Trade: Organic, Digital, and Sustainable was hosted by the Government of Mongolia through the Ministry of Economy and Development. Official opening on June 27 was inaugurated by His Excellency Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, President of Mongolia. The event featured young entrepreneurs pitching their green businesses, sessions on digital transformation and access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses, launch of the SheTrades Hub Mongolia, and dialogues and networking opportunities.

A related event held on June 30 at the sidelines of WEDF 2023 was the Inception Workshop on Promoting Mongolian Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)’ Participation in E-Commerce through Digital Marketplaces and Platforms implemented under ADB TA 10007. The workshop was organized in partnership with the Mongolia Ministry of Economy and Development. Alibaba Group invited start-up entrepreneurs, SMEs, and senior executives to participate in Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform and other initiatives such as Global Digital Talent Program and e-learning platforms.

Key Documents

WEDF 2023 Program

Roundtable 1 on Infrastructure Supporting Enhanced Trade – Session Summary

Roundtable 1 List of Participants

Supported under KSTA 9712: Implementing the Integrated Trade Agenda in the CAREC Program, co-funded by the Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund and the PRC Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRCF) and KSTA 10007: Supporting Sustainable and Inclusive Integration in the Regional and Global Economy: Technical Assistance Report.