The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
On November 16, at the Kuksaroy Residence, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired the First Plenary Session of the Foreign Investors Council under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The event was attended by the EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso, heads of such leading companies and banks as Suez, Calik Holding, Cengiz Enerji, Halyk Bank, VEON Group, TBC Bank, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ACWA Power, Zeppelin International AG, EDF, AME International, CNH Industrial, Youngone Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Mitsui, Sojitz Generation DMCC, KIA Motors, General Electric, John Deere, Silverleafe, Knauf, White & Case, as well as representatives of international financial institutions – the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.
The Foreign Investors Council was established in accordance with the resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan of November 13, 2019. Its main task is to advise the Government of Uzbekistan in the most important areas of investment, industrial, technological and innovative development of the country based on the most successful experience and achievements of world practice.
At the first session of the consultative and advisory body, issues of further enhancing long-term and mutually beneficial investment interaction, implementation of specific cooperation projects in the country in priority areas of collaboration were discussed.
The Head of the state noted the special significance of today’s meeting against the backdrop of serious crisis phenomena at the global level, in conditions of a growing demand for close cooperation based on mutual trust and respect.
It was emphasized that over the last few years Uzbekistan has been implementing large-scale reforms and transformations. One of the main goals of the reforms is the openness of the national economy and the creation of all the necessary conditions for its integration into the global economy.
To this end, the foreign exchange market has been liberalized, access for private investors to sectors such as energy, exploration, chemicals and petrochemicals, medicine and education has been opened up.
Revolutionary decisions have been taken to support private business. More than 200 licenses and permits have been abolished. The tax burden on business has been reduced, and the most comfortable conditions for foreign investment are being created.
As a result, despite the pandemic and difficult situation in foreign markets, positive economic growth has been maintained. Over the last 5 years, the amount of foreign investment in the economy increased tenfold, reaching about $40 billion.
The President noted specific projects and programs that provide for further increase in investments in the economy, primarily in the modernization and transformation of industries, the accelerated development of production, utilities and transport infrastructure.
The Leader of Uzbekistan outlined the main guidelines within the framework of the Council’s activities and priority areas for further enhancing partnerships with foreign investors.
First of all, we are talking about strengthening guarantees for ensuring and protecting the rights and interests of investors. In this context, the Head of the state proposed to establish a Committee under the Council for the protection of investors’ rights.
It was emphasized that Uzbekistan intends to deepen reforms in the banking and financial sector and is open to investor initiatives aimed at further improving the banking sector.
An important direction of the economic policy of the country is a further reduction of state participation and the expansion of privatization. Public-private partnership mechanisms are being introduced in all sectors.
The enormous natural resource potential of Uzbekistan was also noted, as well as wide conditions created for foreign investors to participate in their development.
The Digital Uzbekistan 2030 Strategy has been adopted and is being implemented, within the framework of which special attention is paid to the active attraction of foreign capital and technologies in the process of digitalization in the country.
The main attention is paid to the development of the green economy, effective measures are being taken to develop scientific and technical potential and train specialists in renewable energy.
The President of Uzbekistan invited all investors and partners to actively participate in these projects and programs.
The members of the Council who addressed the meeting noted the high achievements of the reform program of recent years in New Uzbekistan, the results of which were the creation of truly favorable conditions for doing business and implementing promising projects. Deep gratitude was expressed to the President of Uzbekistan for all-round support for the activities of investors, as well as readiness to further enhance the mutually beneficial investment partnership.
Following the meeting, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan gave several instructions to responsible persons on organizing systemic interaction with foreign investors, developing a roadmap based on the proposals made at the meeting, indicating specific deadlines and executors.