“I want to play a role as a bridge to move the center of the world to Asia by sharing the spirit of King Sejong of Korea and Alisher Navoiy of Uzbekistan,” said Chairman Edward Kim of the Board of the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association.
In an interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Chairman Kim said, “The Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association is a Korean economic organization officially recognized by both the Korean government and the Uzbekistan government.
“In November 2018, the Uzbekistan Trade Representative in Korea was established in order to play a pivotal role in Korea's economic development through trade promotion and exchange activation between the two countries, and the business association began to operate in earnest.”
Chairman Kim also said, “We are preparing for an official opening of the Korea-Uzbek Business Center in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in the first half of 2022.”
He stressed that the new center will serve as a groundbreaking opportunity to lay the foundation for further development of friendly cooperation between the two countries.
The followings are main contents of The Korea Post media interview with Chairman Edward Kim of the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association.
Question: Would you introduce the Korea-Uzbek Business Association?
Answer: Under the government-led reform and opening policy since the inauguration of the current President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in December 2016, the association was launched to explore and discover new business opportunities in Uzbekistan, provide high-quality information to members of the Korean and Uzbekistan associations, and to play a bridge role in entering the local market.
The association provides two major merits to the member companies of both countries: the ‘providing priority choices for business opportunities’ program and ‘forming local networking’.
In particular, it should be noted that it is the only economic organization accredited by the governments of the Republic of Korea and Uzbekistan, and it will be an official and safe follow-up management.
Based on such a strong foundation, the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association actively supports businesses through a strong government network with public confidence to stably enter the blue ocean of Uzbekistan, which is a new, central country on the Silk Road.
Q: Would you comment on the role and career of Chairman Edward Kim of the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association?
A: Our association provides accurate information on the innovative and diverse foreign investment programs and economic development policies promoted by the Uzbekistan government in real time.
The association will provide a variety of official information and services to Korean entrepreneurs who want to enter Uzbekistan based on an accredited foundation and to all stakeholders, so that they can promote successful business.
Chairman Edward Kim is concurrently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurasia Networks / CEO of Evergreen Motors Co., Ltd. / International Cooperation Advisor for Incheon Metropolitan City / Honorary Consul of the Uzbekistan Embassy in Korea / Chairman of the International Jangsanati Asian Martial Arts Federation / Trade Advisor to the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan / Executive Director of Eurasia 21/ Executive Director of Fergana Korea International University /Director of Seoul National University Alumni Association.
In addition, he received Global Management Grand Prize (2013)/Presidential Citation (Contribution to National Economic Development, 2013)/ Commendation from the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy (2012)/ Citation from the Minister of Knowledge Economy (2011)/ Citation from the President of the Korea International Trade Association twice (2003, 2010)/ Seoul National University President Award (Excellent Project Case, 2013)/ Korea National Brand Power Grand Prize (2014)/ Seoul National University Proud Alumni Award (2017)/ Uzbekistan Government Friendship and Cooperation Medal (2018)/ President of Uzbekistan Honorary Citizenship (2018) and other awards.
Graduated from Sungkyunkwan University's Department of Humanities, he completed the MBA course at the University of Virginia Business School. He also received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Seoul National University Graduate School of Business.
Q: Please elaborate on Uzbekistan for global readers of The Korea Post media.
A: Uzbekistan is a country with a super city Tashkent with the population of nearly 3 million.
Its area is about four times larger than that of the Korean Peninsula, and it has a high temperature and dry desert climate, making it a good climate for salt and nuts to grow.
The total population is approximately 35 million, and the ethnic proportions are 80% for Uzbek, 5.5% for Russian, 5% for Tajik, 3% for Kazakh, 2.5% for Karakalpak, and 0.6% for Goryeo people.
Currently, Uzbekistan's ambassador to Korea Vitali Fen is a third-generation of Goryeo people. The languages spoken are Uzbek and Russian.
From an economic point of view, it is a country with a high growth rate of 5.4% with a GDP of $58.34 billion and per capita GDP of $1,685.50.
As such, economic cooperation with Central Asian countries is more important than ever. Uzbekistan is rich in underground resources such as oil and gas, uranium, and gold. Cooperation with Korean construction and engineering companies is active.
A Korean construction company is developing a large-scale new city in Kokand City (Uzbek International Trade City) in Fergana State. It is developing the city with the concept of a new residential new town in Korea. The company is building a super new city with over 5,000 households on a site of about 350,000 pyeong.
The city of Kokand in Uzbekistan is geographically close to the borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and has a long history and an active location as a center of international trade.
In addition, it is a Central Asian country that is actively cooperating with the Republic of Korea in a special partnership, such as educational IT platform business, advancement into Korea international university, and establishment of a Korea-Uzbek business center.
Q: Please introduce Eurasia Networks Group.
A: Eurasia Networks Group is a hidden champion company that is developing into a global startup company by establishing various business models in the Eurasia region based on Korea and Uzbekistan.
It has affiliates and related companies in various industries such as new and innovative education, construction, real estate development, distribution, logistics, IT platform, and manufacturing.
Eurasia Networks Group has accumulated various experiences and technologies such as automobile business, logistics business, consulting business, real estate business, and government project business in Central Asia for more than 10 years.
Q: Would you explain the cultural, economic, social and welfare systems of Uzbekistan?
A: It is true that the Republic of Korea is ahead of Uzbekistan in many areas, both economically and democratically.
But from a cultural point of view, I think we can get wisdom from Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan's culture of respecting adults and a strong family community is the image of a large family in Korea in the 1960s and 1970s.
Uzbeks gain strength from family love, where extended families live together and listen to, help, and solve difficulties with each other.
It is a pity that Korea is currently learning the concept of a family community only from a distant historical point of view that is learned from textbooks.
It is true that Korean companies are active in various fields in Uzbekistan. So what are the important things we need to bring from Uzbekistan?
I think we should import the intangible and precious assets of the strong respect and solidarity of the family that we are forgetting. Uzbek people consider it the duty of all citizens to respect and care for the elderly.
Respecting, and caring for the elderly demonstrates the high cultural and spiritual values of society. From old times, these high moral qualities have been the basic knowledge of the Uzbek people.
There is an old Uzbek saying that those who respect the elderly will succeed in life, so special attention is paid to policies for social support, improvement of living conditions, and strengthening of health care for the elderly.
Uzbekistan generously provides social support to war veterans and labor veterans, including medical services, rehabilitation treatment, and free use of public transport.
Social welfare and protection are one of the main directions included in the development strategy of Uzbekistan.
From the early days of Uzbek independence, caring for the elderly has become a top priority in national policy.
This can only be seen from the fact that Uzbekistan declared 2002 the year to protect the interests of the elderly and announced 2015 as the year of care for the elderly”.
The Uzbek government has taken steps to loosen and improve legislative regulations in order to strengthen interest and consideration for the elderly.
In particular, social support and pension systems are being improved, and a system has been created to conveniently provide public services to the elderly, such as obtaining various certification documents and supporting documents.
The laws and regulations for improvement of living standards of the elderly generation were enacted by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Related to this, veterans of Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3 are awarded medals and rewards to many fathers and mothers who have long faithfully worked in Uzbekistan's economy, production, science, culture, education, health, and other fields.
In addition, the Uzbekistan government has promulgated detailed decrees on measures to further promote the roles and social activities of the elderly.
According to the decree, from 2019, the first week of October every year has been designated as “the week of the elderly” to introduce the program 'Travel in Uzbekistan!' .
Most notably, it provided free visits to cinemas, theaters, museums, concerts and other cultural and educational events for the elderly.
It is very interesting that Chaihana (teahouse), which operates in all Mahalya (meaning village), is the center of social life for the elderly.
Old people come here to chat, have a cup of tea, share the latest news, and play chess and checkers.
Among the culture of reverence, there is a business that provides necessary items such as furniture, clothes, and board game boards to the elderly living alone through an event called “Let’s pray for the elderly living alone!”
Older veterans play an important role in patriotism, spiritual and moral education for today's younger generations as living examples of courage, heroism and devotion.
Listening to the stories of wise old men, patriotism develops in the hearts of men and women and gives them the strength to live today. It has great implications for Korea as well.
Q: Do you have any regulations and incentives to attract foreign investors into Uzbekistan?
A: The Uzbek government is preparing to revise laws and regulations to provide unprecedented support to foreign companies.
It plans to revise laws that allow 100% foreign capital investment, guarantee 100% of management rights, and allow land privatization.
Uzbekistan is definitely the center of the new Silk Road. If many Korean companies approach Uzbekistan with interest, our association will serve as the best bridge. Come to Uzbekistan!