INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN
INFORMATION DIGEST OF
PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN # 135
July 12, 2017
President of Uzbekistan received deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers – minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan. 1
This year, Uzbekistan hosts the second International Fruit and Vegetable Fair 1
International cooperation.. 2
Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. 2
One Road, Many Partners. 2
President of Uzbekistan received deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers – minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan
On July 11, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers – minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, who arrived in Tashkent on a working visit.
At the meeting, the head of our state expressed his deep respect and addressed words of welcome to the friendly Turkmen people and to the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The dynamically developing and strengthening bilateral relations in political, trade-economic, transport-communication and cultural-humanitarian spheres were noted with great satisfaction.
It was emphasized that the first state visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan in March of this year, working meetings in “Avaza” tourist zone and in the capital of Kazakhstan – Astana in May-June, as well as regular contacts between the leaders of the two countries brought cooperation of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to a qualitatively new level and ensuring practical implementation of provisions of the Treaty on strategic partnership.
In accordance with the agreements, companies and enterprises of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are currently implementing joint foreign trade contracts and agreements worth over 200 million dollars.
A systematic and long-term cooperation has been established in the sphere of agricultural engineering – a new batch of cotton harvesting machines, cultivators and other modern equipment has been delivered to Turkmenistan. Trade and service center will start its operation in Ashgabat this month.
Rolling stock of railways of Turkmenistan are being repaired and modernized on the base of JSC “O’zbekiston temir yo’llari” (“Uzbekistan railways”) enterprises.
Transit traffic volume between the countries has significantly increased with the opening of the automobile and railway bridges of “Turkmenabad –Farab”. Only by rail the transit of export cargo of Uzbekistan through the territory of Turkmenistan increased by 25 percent.
Intensive cooperation in cultural and humanitarian sphere is developing. Work has begun on establishment of “Ashgabat’ park in Tashkent. In September, our athletes will take part in the next Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in the capital of Turkmenistan.
During the meeting, issues of expanding practical cooperation between the two countries, identifying new directions and joint implementation of promising projects aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership were discussed.
The sides also exchanged views on actual issues of regional and international policy.
Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers – minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov conveyed the words of deep respect and best wishes of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to people of Uzbekistan and their leader – President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He confirmed the readiness of the Turkmen side to further develop full-scale cooperation between the two states.
This year, Uzbekistan hosts the second International Fruit and Vegetable Fair
It will take place in a new two-stage format. On September 6-8, Tashkent will host the second International Fruit and Vegetable Fair in the exhibition areas of Uzexpocenter. Territorial fruit and vegetable fairs will be held later, in November, in Nukus and in all regional centers, for the formation of a portfolio of orders for the next year and medium term.
The central event in Tashkent will showcase the economic and investment capacity of the fruit and vegetable industry of Uzbekistan, fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products produced by farmers and small economies, agrofirms and processing enterprises of all regions of the country.
The agenda includes round table discussions with foreign participants, which will focus on expansion of direct and medium-term export supplies of fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products. It is planned to visit intensive gardens, fruit and vegetable processing enterprises, logistics centers and refrigeration complexes.
At last year’s first International fruit and vegetable fair, Uzbekistan signed 355 contracts for more than $1 billion to supply 1.4 million tons of fruit and vegetable products. 32% of the total volume of contracted products accounted for vegetables, 17% - for grapes, 25% for fruits, dried and processed products and legumes shared 13% each, and 1% fell to melons.
Today, Uzbekistan is the Central Asia’s largest producer of fruit and vegetable products. The country has over 70,000 farms, broadly introducing the principles of integrated water resources management and modern agro technologies.
In recent years, the republic has grown into a major exporter of fruit and vegetable products. Previously, they were traditionally delivered mainly to Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries, while today they are shipped to the markets of over 120 countries of the world. The map of supplies has expanded largely due to the establishment of exports to Indonesia, Norway, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, USA, Thailand, Japan and other countries.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan
On July 11, 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov met with the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, who arrived in Tashkent on a visit.
During the conversation, the foreign ministers discussed prospects for further development of bilateral relations in various fields and noted with satisfaction that the first half of 2017 was very intensive and productive in terms of further enhancing cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The meetings between Presidents Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in March and May of this year, as well as intensive contacts between the profile ministries and heads of business entities gave a powerful impetus to the Uzbek-Turkmen relations.
As has been emphasized, the parties attach great importance to the practical realization of agreements reached at the highest level, and monitor the implementation of each agreement or contract.
At the meeting, the ministers also exchanged views on issues of the international and regional agenda.
The Ambassador of Turkmenistan Shiri Shiriyev participated in the talks.
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
One Road, Many Partners
The leading researcher of the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Abbos Bobokhonov, has spoken about the growing strategic importance of Central Asia as a ‘node link’ in Eurasia in an interview with our publication.
- The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit that took place in Beijing this past May opened a new stage in the development of the most ambitious economic project in the history of modern China. However, the impact of this program, according to experts, will not be limited to the economy, but will lead to a certain transformation of PRC’s foreign policy. What is your opinion on this?
- Currently, the promotion of the concept One Belt, One Road is the main priority of the leadership of the People’s Republic of China. This titanic strategic plan of Beijing’s envisages the participation of 68 countries with the coverage of 40% of global GDP, indicating the significant potential and scale of the project.
Despite the fact that OBOR is a relatively recent initiative, it has received broad international support to date. Over the past four years, One Belt, One Road has already gone from conception to action, as a result of more than 100 countries and international organizations responding positively to the initiative. Chinese companies have invested more than $ 50 billion and formed 56 zones of trade and economic cooperation in participating countries.
According to experts, a significant increase in the "circle of friends" of the PRC in the framework of OBOR demonstrates the growth in trust in China as a responsible and eminent partner, and also strengthens its more active role in international political and economic processes, contributing to the growth of Beijing's authority.
At present, the international system is undergoing complex and profound changes, the world economy is slowly recovering. Amid these circumstances, the Chinese initiative contributes to the realization of the enormous trade, economic, investment, transport and logistics potential of the participating nations, which can fundamentally alter the modern face of the entire Asia. In addition, the successful implementation of the project will give a new impetus to the development of China's foreign policy, having formed a positive international image around the PRC.
- One Belt, One Road is a whole scattering of infrastructure projects, some of which are already being implemented, and the other will in the near future. Recently, the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan jointly with the Chinese side held a seminar in Tashkent on this topic. What issues were on the agenda?
- On June 20 this year, a similar seminar was held with the participation of representatives of scientific circles and mass media of Uzbekistan and China. During the event, participants exchanged views on topical issues of bilateral cooperation, promising areas of mutually advantageous partnership within the framework of the OBOR. In addition, the issues of active engagement of representatives of the academic and expert communities to promote the project were discussed.
Chinese experts once again confirmed that Beijing regards Uzbekistan as a key partner in Central Asia and intends to nurture close cooperation with it in all areas of shared interest. It was noted that the high level of political trust and mutual understanding, the stable growth of economic cooperation between the two countries show the firm intention of Tashkent and Beijing to develop constructive relations with long-term prospects.
According to the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Uzbekistan, Sun Lijie, in recent years, mutually beneficial cooperation between our two nations has been dynamically developing and is reaching a qualitatively new level. This is thanks to the beginning of wide-scale cooperation on joint construction of the One Belt, One Road. China views Uzbekistan as one of the most important partners in this initiative.
Member of the Consultative Council on Public Diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry of China, former Ambassador of the PRC to the United Kingdom Ma Zhengang noted that the interaction of his country and Uzbekistan under the OBOR initiative will afford a potent impetus to the advancement of relations and the common prosperity of the two countries.
Against this background, the active interaction between Tashkent and Beijing within the framework of this initiative gives the parties an opportunity to uncover the untapped potential for cooperation. In particular, currently, with the participation of Chinese companies major joint projects are underway or been completed in our country, the Jizzakh Free Economic Zone, the China-Uzbekistan gas pipeline, the Angren-Pap railway tunnel being the most visible among them. Prominent Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE in the sphere of information and communication technologies, and Pensheng in the production of building materials and high-tech products are also active in Uzbekistan.
In our country, 700 Chinese enterprises operate, and over the past years, partners from the PRC have invested about $ 7.8 billion in the Uzbek economy.
One of the important directions of the Chinese initiative is also the establishment of close transport links between the regions. At present, the lack of a reliable system of transport and communication corridors severely limits the potential opportunities and prospects for the economic development of the Central Asian states, as well as their closer integration into the global economic system. In these conditions, it is expedient to form transport routes that would connect Central Asia and China with Russian, European and world markets, thereby opening up huge opportunities for the social and economic development of the countries of the region, ensuring a large-scale inflow of investments into the region.
In this regard, Chinese experts noted that due to its strategic location in the center of the region, a politically stable climate, a dynamically thriving economy, Uzbekistan should become a transport and logistics center of Central Asia. In turn, the PRC is willing to act as a unifying bridge between Central and East Asia.
During the seminar it was pointed out that Uzbekistan is ready to discuss specific proposals of the Chinese side on the execution of schemes designed to improve transport infrastructure. Of particular interest was the construction of the railway China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, the implementation of which will complete the formation of a unified railway system throughout the country, which will become the most important link in the new international transit railway corridor China-Central Asia-Europe.
- Currently, our country is gradually implementing the strategy of its development for 2017-2021, and we cannot fail to notice the consonance of a number of its economic goals with the priorities for the implementation of the Chinese initiative of the OBOR. In which areas of social and economic development of Uzbekistan, in your opinion, is this manifest particularly clearly?
- During the event it was noted that the Chinese side highly appreciates the efforts undertaken by Uzbekistan to carry out reforms in all sectors of the national economy. From the point of view of Chinese specialists, a special role in this process is played by the Strategy of Actions initiated by the leadership of Uzbekistan, in five priority areas of development for 2017-2021.
According to Sun Lijie, the adoption of the Strategy of Actions became a "big strategic decision" of the leadership of Uzbekistan. A similar plan exists in China, the priority areas of which outline key tasks such as "reducing poverty in the country and improving the economic well-being of the people." In this respect, Uzbekistan and China have common interests, primarily related to improving the lives of their people.
Experts believe that the implementation of the plans indicated in this Strategy will lead the country to a new, higher stage of development through which Uzbekistan is transformed into a developed, open and profitable partner for all countries, including for China.
During the discussions it was also noted that the new policy of openness of Uzbekistan provides a chance for both countries to take advantage of mutual opportunities. Beijing has a huge technological potential, which is in no way inferior to European counterparts. At the same time, Tashkent has serious potential opportunities - it is a quality, educated, relatively cheap labor and a favorable investment climate.
The participants of the event stressed that the implementation of the Strategy of Actions will become a powerful impetus for not only the progressive development of Uzbekistan, but also serve the peace, stability and prosperity of the entire Central Asian region. The current President's course further strengthens the country's positions not only in Central Asia, but also in the international arena as a promising and reliable partner. Such dynamics opens wide opportunities for bringing Uzbek-Chinese relations to a qualitatively new level.
- Aggregate investments within the framework of the One Belt, One Road are estimated at colossal amounts: from $ 2 to $ 3.5 trillion. Over the past three years, Chinese investments in countries that joined the initiative amounted to about $ 50 billion. In the coming years, Beijing plans to triple this amount. In your opinion, is it possible to attract some of these funds for investing in the newly created free economic zones in Uzbekistan in Urgut, Gijduvan, Kokand and Hazarasp?
- As noted by Chinese experts, the main task of the One Belt, One Road is to redirect the flow of exports of goods and capital to those states with which in recent years China has begun to actively develop trade and economic cooperation, primarily the countries of Central Asia.
Uzbekistan remains interested in further strengthening and expanding multifaceted economic cooperation with China, especially in non-primary and technological sectors, attracting Chinese investment in priority production sectors of the country's economy.
For the Republic of Uzbekistan, the further development of the free economic zone Jizzakh created in 2013, on which Chinese investors are provided favorable conditions and preferences, acquires special significance. Cooperation within the framework of the Jizzakh FEZ creates prerequisites for further deepening of bilateral relations, lends dynamism to trade and economic relations between Uzbekistan and China, and also creates conditions for joint entry into the markets of third countries. The Pensheng Industrial Park is today one of the projects successfully implemented in Uzbekistan with the direct participation of the Chinese private business.
Along with this, according to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, it is planned to create four additional free economic zones - Hazarasp, Kokand, Urgut and Gijduvan, which will provide great opportunities for foreign investors, including for Chinese business Circles. During the period of operation, special tax, customs and currency regimes operate in the territories of the above-mentioned FEZ, and logistics centers and customs posts will be established.
In the context of growing demand for energy resources and consumer goods in China, attracting investments in the creation of modern facilities for deep processing of mineral and raw materials and agricultural resources, as well as the integrated use of the production and resource potential of the Samarkand, Bukhara, Ferghana and Khorezm provinces meets the strategic interests of both countries.
In addition, the use of the financial and investment potential of the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investment (ABII) can bring huge benefits to our country. In particular, the priority areas of investment activity of ABII are projects in the sphere of energy resources, transport, rural infrastructure development and logistics.
The measures taken by the leadership of Uzbekistan not only create favorable conditions for foreign investors, including Chinese, for business development, but also open new opportunities for the country to gain a more significant role in regional processes, especially against the background of the growing strategic importance of Central Asia as a pivotal element in Eurasia.
In general, the intensification of cooperation between Uzbekistan and China meets the strategic interests of both countries, which seek to diversify and expand their own economic opportunities.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)