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FM: Uzbekistan attracts loans, investments worth $44B

Protocol between Uzbekistan and the European Union

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Tashkent, Uzbekistan, May 29 By Demir Azizov – Trend: Uzbekistan has signed more than 320 trade and investment agreements and contracts worth $44 billion since September 2016, said Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov addressing a meeting of the Uzbek Senate.

A report of the Uzbek foreign minister on the activities of the Ministry in developing foreign economic relations, attracting foreign investments and advanced technologies to the economy, developing tourism and strengthening the international image of Uzbekistan was read out for the first time at a Senate meeting.

As it was previously reported, the work on attracting foreign investments for the economy of Uzbekistan was defined by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev as the most important priority of the country’s foreign policy strategy.

“The attraction of investments to the national economy is determined as one of important issues of implementation of the strategy on further development of Uzbekistan in the next five years. To date, about 320 agreements and documents have been signed for a total amount of $44 billion,” said Kamilov.

He noted that only according to the results of state visits of President Mirziyoyev to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and China, 239 agreements and contracts totaling $37.7 billion were signed.

During the period, the Ministry continued its work on increasing the investment attractiveness of Uzbekistan abroad, on forming a positive image of the country in foreign business community, said the minister.

The European Parliament approved a “textile protocol” between Uzbekistan and the European Union.

“The entry into force of this document will not only increase the export of Uzbek textile products to the EU markets, but will also send a positive signal to Western investors for putting capital in Uzbekistan,” he added.

Moreover, Kamilov noted the resumption of Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as the preparation of an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Ministry is working to facilitate the issuance of visas for big and reliable foreign investors, highly qualified specialists in order to increase tourist flow to Uzbekistan. Currently, there is a simplified visa issuance procedure with regard to citizens of 13 states visiting Uzbekistan for business purposes.

According to a survey conducted jointly by the Uzbek Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions, a number of businessmen and experts from reputable financial institutions that have experience working with Uzbekistan have named factors that inhibit the flow of investments to Uzbekistan. The problems of currency conversion and repatriation of profits, imperfection of the banking and credit system, weak protection of investors’ rights, administrative and bureaucratic barriers and low investment ratings are among them.

The minister added that in order to improve the activities of the Foreign Ministry and institutions, operating abroad, in the foreign economic sphere, it is required, in particular, to approve the strategy of foreign policy and foreign economic activity of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021, to create an independent subdivision on international economic cooperation in the Foreign Ministry.

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