The regular meeting of the U.S.-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce with the participation of representatives of about 30 large US companies took place on February 1 in Tashkent. The US delegation included executives of Baker & McKenzie, General Motors, Cameco, Honeywell International, General Electric, Nukem, Case New Holland Industrial, Caterpillar, John Deere, Coca-Cola, Zeppelin International and other companies, Turkiston Press said.
Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan, Elyor Ganiev in his speech praised the contribution of the U.S.-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce in the development and strengthening of bilateral and multi-faceted strategic partnership between the two countries.
Elyor Ganiev said that Uzbekistan has been a reliable partner for American businesses for decades. In 2016 the volume of bilateral trade reached 453.8 million dollars, a 70% increase. In spite of this positive trend, the sides are not fully utilizing the existing potential. "There are all necessary conditions to further boost volumes of both investment and trade", - the minister said.
The leadership of Uzbekistan initiated market reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy, Elyor Ganiev added. The country plans to create four new free economic zones. "Unprecedented conditions for foreign investors will be created there, namely: zero taxes, zero duties. In other words, ideal conditions ", - the minister said.
He also focused on the measures taken in the country to counter corruption, which should lead to a better business environment. The Anti-Corruption Law has been recently adopted. The laws on public procurement, public-private partnership and business ombudsman are being drafted.
Speaking about the conditions for American business in Uzbekistan Elyor Ganiev mentioned several successful examples of cooperation between the companies of the two countries: strategic partnership with General Motors in the automotive, developing cooperation with Boeing, General Electric, Case New Holland, Hilton, Hyatt and other companies.
At the same time, the Head of MFERIT described the level of affairs with the United States as "far too modest." He expressed Uzbekistan’s interest in expanding the presence of American businesses in Uzbekistan. First of all, the creation of high-tech production facilities in the energy, automotive, energy-saving technologies, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, chemical industries, production of electronic and electrical products.
"Much attention is paid today to the development of food industry and processing of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables. We believe that this trend to be very promising given the fact that Uzbekistan produces about 18 million tons of high-quality fruits and vegetables a year. We are very interested in for introduction of modern energy-efficient projects. Today, the issue of energy efficiency is becoming a key issue for us ", - Elyor Ganiev underscored.
The minister also mentioned the problems that hinder the development of trade between Uzbekistan and the United States. According to him, the important factor is the creation of effective mechanisms of financing of bilateral trade operations and investment projects. "We think it is necessary and important to resume cooperation with U.S. financial institutions. Unfortunately, there is a problem related to Uzbekistan’s ranking on the OECD list (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ) - We are still ranked in the sixth category. This is definitely an obstacle for American investments and goods, because without financial security it is senseless to speak of effective trade", - the head of MFERIT said.
"Paradoxically, when we buy American Boeing planes we use the China Development Bank loans, - the minister continued. - The fact that Uzbekistan is ranked in the sixth category entails additional costs, consequently insurance coverage costs increase dramatically. This makes the financial resources of US banks, including U.S. Eximbank, cost-ineffective. "
Uzbekistan is not interested in such expensive loans, Elyor Ganiev said. "We look forward to support in being ranked in the fourth category on the OECD classification, I think we deserve it. This, in turn, will enable us fully use credit lines provided by U.S. banks and will help to boost trades and investments,"- he stressed.
As a conclusion Elyor Ganiev reassured the American partners that the leadership of Uzbekistan is ready to create the most favorable conditions for them so that they feel comfortable in our country.
Chairman of the U.S.-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn Lamm stressed that the United States considers Uzbekistan as a key partner in the region and is interested in expanding cooperation. According to her, "Uzbekistan’s impressive growth rates lay a good foundation for the development of business contacts."
During the meeting, a number of memorandums and agreements were signed. In particular, UzAgroTehSanoatHolding (Uz Agro Technical Industrial Holding) and CNH Industrial signed documents for the manufacture of cotton harvesting machine and other machinery, UzbekEnergo and Honeywell International - a Memorandum on introduction of electricity metering solutions, Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine and Nukem - contract for supply of natural uranium concentrate, UzbekNefteGaz and General Electric - a MoU for introduction of energy efficient technologies in Uzbekistan’s oil and gas sector, UzPharmSanoat and the US agency for international development (USAID) - MoU on assistance for implementation of the project: "Promotion of quality medicines."
The previous meeting of the Chamber was held in October 2015 in Washington.
In August 1994, the US Congress has provided Uzbekistan the beneficiary status of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).