ITC in Tajikistan
The projects of the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Tajikistan, all are being supported by the Government of Switzerland, are designed to strengthen the sustainable expansion and diversification of SMEs exports from Tajikistan. They aim to develop the national capacity for trade development by focusing on small and medium export-oriented enterprises and business service providers while also addressing institutional issues.
Being present in the country since 2002, ITC has been supporting Tajik export-oriented SMEs and business service providers through delivering tailored trainings and advisory services, facilitating participation in trade fairs, and organising missions to target markets. ITC has also worked on fostering synergies between the education and the private sector through collaborations with universities in Dushanbe and Khujand.
So far, ITC has implemented a number of trade-related assistance projects in Tajikistan, such as ‘Trade Promotion in Central Asia’ (2002-2003); three phases of the project ‘Trade Promotion in Tajikistan’ (2004-2006, 2006-2008, 2009-2013); “WTO Negotiations of Accession: Policy Advice and Capacity Building” (2012-2017); “Implementation of WTO Provisions and Business Awareness of WTO Accession” (2012-2015), and “Strengthening export competitiveness of SMEs in the textile and clothing sector and enhancing trade support institutional capacities” (2013-2017).
ITC originally focused on the fruit and vegetable processing sector and reaching practical successes in it, has shifted into textile and clothing (T&C) sector since 2009. Our projects aim to increase the export competitiveness of the textile and clothing (T&C) 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.
The outcome of ITC’s interventions has been encouraging. Both the national stakeholders and the donor recognized that a considerable leap in export development has been achieved through the previous projects. The quality infrastructure received significant development impetus, participating enterprises obtained practical assistance, and the capabilities of business support providers were increased substantially.
Beneficiaries have seen improved export competitiveness, productivity, marketing, and sales, and many have signed multimillion dollar contracts. During 2013-2017, over US$30 million of exports have been generated, 12 new market destinations have been explored, and more than 3,500 business linkages have been established. ITC’s trainings have also reached a total of 1,200 participants – 41% of whom were women. In 2016, ITC supported the development of the Textile and Clothing Industry Development Strategy of Tajikistan (2016–2025).
One of our main and historic achievements we are proud of is assisting Tajikistan to gain the WTO membership. After more than 11 years of negotiations, Tajikistan became the 159th member of the World Trade Organization on 02 March 2013. WTO accession was one of the top political and economic priorities for the Government of Tajikistan, aiming to improve the overall economic, trade and business-related conditions, external image and competitiveness of the Tajik economy. ITC supported the Republic of Tajikistan to implement the WTO provisions in the post accession period by helping to improve the general understanding of public and private sectors on implications of the WTO Accession.
Global Textiles & Clothing Programme
The Global Textiles and Clothing programme (GTEX) aims to promote textile and clothing (T&C) exports from developing countries to stimulate employment and income generation along the value chain. The four-year programme (2018-2021) targets five selected countries – Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan – and seeks to build competitive, sustainable businesses and to create long-term employment, especially for women and young people. Building upon the achievements of previous ITC/SECO interventions in the T&C sector, the project seeks to bolster the export capacity and market competitiveness of Tajikistan’s T&C sector through two goals:
- Improved business environment and trade and investment support institutions (TISI) performance at the national or, if applicable, regional level. This includes assisting TISIs in enhancing and sustaining their operational and managerial capacities so as to broaden and elevate the quality of services offered.
- Improved competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the T&C sector. This is achieved through enhanced products and processes that help SMEs locate new export markets. The resultant export growth is expected to drive job creation that will benefit youths and women.
GTEX’s direct beneficiaries are SMEs that export T&C products. These SMEs stand to benefit from higher job security and revenues through increased competitiveness of their companies or the T&C sector.
The intermediate beneficiaries are T&C TISIs. Having stronger TISIs results in higher quality of services offered to enterprise members. The latter includes local professional associations, consulting companies, and academia.
Inclusivity is at the heart of GTEX’s approach. This helps beneficiaries attain sustainable development in gender, youth and the environment.
Tajikistan’s T&C sector employs more than 15,000 people and comprises 21 spinning mills, six vertically integrated textile firms, five socks and knitting units, about 45 garment enterprises, and more than 150 micro- or small sewing workshops. As the second largest export industry, the T&C sector offers the opportunity to boost female employment and household income, and reduce Tajikistan’s reliance on remittances.
Despite this potential, the sector has underdeveloped TISIs, poor value chain integration, and faces demand- and supply-side issues. For instance, instead of producing “Made-in-Tajikistan” garments for export in foreign markets, Tajikistan exports around 80% of its domestically produced cotton fibres.