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Starting from February 1, 2018, it is planned to scrap individual customs, tax and other benefits and preferences granted to some entities for importing of food products and to prohibit the Cabinet of Ministers from taking such decisions. The relevant draft Presidential decree has been prepared by the General Prosecutor's Office.

The document notes "the existence of serious systemic problems that facilitate the preservation of unhealthy competition, monopolizing by some entities of imports, artificial deficit and facts of unjustified overpricing for some items and, which resulted in super profits made on this basis.

It is acknowledged in the draft that dominant position of some importers has been facilitated through their being provided with benefits and preferences, as well as existence of exclusive conditions for them, which has resulted in restricted access for other business entities.

The current situation reduces the business activity in Uzbekistan and its investment attractiveness and seriously damages the country's reputation in the world, the document says.

The changes are aimed at ensuring food security in the country, providing the internal market with quality, safe and affordable food products, enhancing the purchasing power of households, liberalizing foreign economic activity and developing a competitive environment.

Specialized storage facilities, cold rooms, as well as facilities for processing and packaging of food products should be created in all provinces of the country on the public-private partnership terms.

The ban on selling and purchasing consumer goods at commodity exchanges, introduced in 2002, will be lifted.

No wholesale trade license will be required to purchase and sell food products at electronic trades of commodity exchanges.

Brokers will be allowed to submit applications to banks for purchase (sale) of foreign currency on behalf of non-resident client with cash made from sale of products at commodity exchanges, and non-residents - legal entities - to open accounts in Uzbekistan’s banks and to purchase (sell) foreign currency with cash made from sale of products at commodity exchanges.

The decree provides for preparing of draft food security bill, which will include measures to provide local markets with quality, safe and affordable food products, develop the agricultural complex, introduce effective mechanisms for social and public-private partnerships, timely eliminate threats to the stability of food market and flexible customs - tariff regulation of food imports.

In addition, it is planned to conduct a critical study of customs procedures and system of transporting goods through Uzbekistan’s customs border, with preparing of proposals for eliminating unnecessary barriers and obstacles, maximum simplification of goods customs clearance and reducing the cost of export-import operations.

To eliminate existing problems in the sphere and make sound proposals to improve the business environment in the country, it is proposed to conduct "an open and direct dialogue with business entities", including exporters and importers of significant types of consumer goods, foreign investors and foreign partners on a systematic basis.

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