MINISTER OF INVESTMENT, INDUSTRY AND TRADE
Economy I Leader I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY He was born in 1981 in Tashkent and earned degrees from both Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies and Hosei University in Japan. Between 2003 and 2010, he held multiple positions at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade, culminating in his role as first deputy minister. In December 2022, he was appointed as minister in his current position.
“THE MINISTRY IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN ENHANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE COUNTRY, PROMOTING ITS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, AND CREATING A FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS.”
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED SINCE YOUR APPOINTMENT IN DECEMBER 2022?
Since my appointment, we have already made progress towards achieving our main targets for 2023-2026. Our goals include attracting U$133 billion in investment to the country's economy, with U$65 billion of that being foreign investment, and doubling our industrial output. We plan to achieve this by increasing production volumes in various industries, such as automotive, construction materials, textiles, leather and footwear, electrical, and pharmaceuticals. We also aim to increase exports to U$30 billion and raise the skope of finished products from 47% to 71%.
To carry out these tasks, we have created the necessary conditions, including an appropriate legal framework and financial resources for entrepreneurship and investment, as well as ample opportunities for investors and increased transparency in the investment process. By the end of 2022, we had already achieved significant progress with the development of foreign investments totaling U$11.9 billion. This included U$9.9 billion in foreign direct investments and U$1.8 billion from international financial institutions and foreign government financial organizations.
These investments allowed us to implement 304 large-scale projects worth U$6.2 billion and 12,271 medium and small projects worth U$6.6 billion. We are confident that with our continued efforts, we will achieve our targets and make Uzbekistan one of the most attractive destinations for investment.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE BILATERAL MISSIONS BEING ORGANIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF UZBEKISTAN ABROAD?
There are significant benefits that trade missions offer for enhancing bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, as well as expanding the interests of foreign businesses in Uzbekistan. We have already seen promising outcomes from trade missions this year, which were carried out in conjunction with high-level visits to Singapore, Kyrgyzstan and Egypt. For instance, the joint Uzbek-Singaporean business forum resulted in contracts worth around U$5 billion being signed, while agreements exceeding U$1.6 billion were reached following a similar forum in Kyrgyzstan. In Egypt, over 20 agreements and contracts worth U$1.6 billion were also concluded.
Our message to potential partners is clear: Uzbekistan is open to the world and ready for active collaboration and development. The range of opportunities for cooperation is vast, spanning sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture, mining, transportation and communication, engineering, and technology, among others.
Looking ahead, we have planned visits of the President of Uzbekistan in the coming months, during which we aim to strengthen trade, economic and investment cooperation with partner countries and achieve significant agreements for future collaboration.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY EFFORTS BEING UNDERTAKEN BY THE MINISTRY TO ACCOMPLISH ITS GOALS FOR ATTRACTING FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT?
This year, we have set a challenging goal of attracting more than U$11 billion of foreign direct investment. To achieve this, we have developed and approved a state investment program that includes significant strategic projects in various sectors, financed by both centralized funds and foreign investors. As per the investment program, more than 12,000 projects across various sectors will be implemented, assimilating foreign investments worth U$13.2 billion in 2023. This will comprise U$11 billion in foreign direct investment and U$2.2 billion in funds from international financial institutions and foreign government financial organizations.
Several projects in the energy sector in Syrdarya, Navoi and Surkhandarya regions, were implemented through foreign direct investments. The projects on construction of a new thermal power station with the capacity of 1,500MW in Shirin city of Syrdarya region worth U$1 billion, construction of wind power station with the capacity of 500MW in Tamdy district of Navoi region worth U$600 million and construction of solar power station with the capacity of 457MW in Sherabad district of Sukrhandarya region worth U$260 million are among such projects. Similar programs in terms of specific areas and sectors have been approved for each region of the country. They envisage implementation of thousands of small and medium-sized investment projects in all cities and districts of the country.
The Ministry's work goes beyond investment programs. In each district of Uzbekistan, special departments are created to search and develop potential projects, which are then presented to foreign investors by the Investment Promotion Agency. The "Single Window" system, which provides assistance to foreign partners, helps investors obtain government services, permits, documents, financial resources, and loans. The Ministry also takes post-monitoring responsibilities for each project and tries to resolve issues within 48 hours.
To further expand investment opportunities and business in Uzbekistan, measures are being implemented to protect private property, privatize state property, introduce modern standards of corporate governance, and develop international cooperation. The Ministry has planned additional measures to attract foreign direct investments, and we hope to implement them successfully in accordance with the government's plans.
WHAT STEPS IS YOUR MINISTRY TAKING TO ENHANCE THE COMPETITIVENESS OF UZBEKISTAN?
Significant reforms have been implemented in the administrative governance system of Uzbekistan. The "Decree of the Head of our state on measures to implement the administrative reforms of the New Uzbekistan" has reorganized and expanded the responsibilities of our Ministry. We have been entrusted with the task of developing the industrial sector and implementing government policy on creating new enterprises and jobs.
Our primary goal is to attract foreign direct investment to achieve industrial development, improve infrastructure, and increase the availability of resources. The expansion of investment projects will help us achieve our objectives, including the development of human resources and industrial potential, increasing exports, and creating new jobs. We are actively inviting foreign investors and supporting their initiatives in various sectors of the economy. We are also focused on accelerating industrial production, filling the domestic market with products in demand, reducing imports, and expanding exports. There are significant opportunities for investment in various sectors of the Uzbekistan economy, such as chemical, food, textile and silk, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, construction materials.
To implement these objectives, we have established the Industrial Development Fund to support the development of industrial networks. We are also creating the National Industrial Portal of Uzbekistan to digitize industrial enterprise processes and investment projects, providing information from beginning to implementation. We believe that these measures will continue to improve our investment climate and facilitate the implementation of investment projects aimed at creating new jobs and promoting economic growth.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS?
Uzbekistan is committed to progress and development, and is already delivering impressive outcomes. The President's unwavering political will has led to the introduction of radical economic reforms, which are already bearing fruit. Our efforts have led to improvements in the investment climate and the ease of doing business, and business procedures have been streamlined. In addition, customs duties have been halved, and zero rates of import duties have been applied to over 3,550 goods, with excise duties applied to 1,122 types of goods. Uzbekistan's open, constructive and mutually beneficial foreign policy is also a vital aspect of our economic and political life.
Our country has taken an 'open door' approach to relations with other countries and state associations, which has elevated our relations with many to a new level. To deepen reforms, we will continue to work on improving conditions for increasing local and foreign investment in Uzbekistan's economy. We welcome foreign investors, including those from the EU, and are committed to supporting all their business initiatives in various sectors such as energy, manufacturing, ICT, finance, education and healthcare. It is important to highlight that Uzbekistan holds a strategically advantageous geographical position, providing access to duty-free markets in the CIS as well as China, South Asia and other destinations.
Furthermore, we are granted the status of a beneficiary of the GSP+ Generalized System of Preferences Plus, enabling us to export goods to the EU on a preferential basis. We estimate that our mutual trade with the EU could be much higher. With all the necessary resources and qualified personnel available at a low cost, coupled with political and economic stability, Uzbekistan is an attractive destination for European companies. We pledge our full support to any entrepreneurial initiatives of the business community from the EU and are ready to provide all necessary assistance.