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.
The national flags of the two countries were raised and a guard of honor was lined up to welcome the President of Uzbekistan at the Paris-Orly Airport.
The Minister of Culture of France Rima Abdul Malak and other officials met the Leader of Uzbekistan.
On November 21, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the CEO of the French Development Agency Rémy Rioux, in Paris. Issues of further enhancing cooperation between Uzbekistan and the French Development Agency and filling it with new promising projects were considered.
The high level of interaction was noted with satisfaction. The portfolio of joint projects has reached 1 billion euros. Important programs for the development of infrastructure, economic sectors and the social sphere are being implemented today with the participation of the Agency.
The French Development Agency CEO, noting the impressive results of the ongoing reform program in New Uzbekistan, highly appreciated the current dynamics and potential of interaction.
During the conversation, special attention was paid to the issues of deepening practical partnership in such priority areas as the introduction of effective public-private partnership mechanisms, primarily in education, healthcare and infrastructure, expanding support for green economy projects in transport and energy, support for the agro-industrial complex, promotion of training projects and financing women's and youth entrepreneurship.
The importance of the active use of mechanisms of mixed financing of projects, including the participation of direct investments of French companies, was emphasized. The parties agreed to prepare a roadmap for the implementation of all agreements.
Following the meeting, a new Strategic Cooperation Program 2025 worth over 1 billion euros was signed between the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the French Development Agency. The Program provides for specific joint projects in agriculture, energy, green economy, urban development, water supply, banking-financial sector and transport.
As part of his official visit to France the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev met with the heads of leading companies and financial structures of this country, in Paris.
The event was attended by Philippe Gautier, CEO of MEDEF International, heads of about 20 largest companies and banks, such as Airbus, Orano, Suez, Alstom, Total Eren, EDF, Schneider Electric, Natixis, and others.
Welcoming the participants of the meeting, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev drew attention to the fact that the first day of the program of his official visit was devoted to the business agenda.
“This once again testifies to the firm commitment of Uzbekistan to enhancing economic cooperation with France, our important and reliable partner”, the President of Uzbekistan said.
It was noted that today wide opportunities for foreign investors have been created in Uzbekistan. The foreign exchange market has been liberalized, all restrictions on the repatriation of profits have been lifted, a program has been launched for the privatization of banks, large industrial and infrastructure facilities, and public-private partnership mechanisms are being actively introduced.
In accordance with the Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan, specific measures are being implemented to further stimulate business, ensure the protection of investor rights, the inviolability of private property and other areas.
“We strive to ensure foreign investors, first of all, with stability and predictability in Uzbekistan”, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
It was noted that in the current conditions of instability in the world, the deepening of a multifaceted and constructive partnership based on consideration of each other’s interests and mutual trust is of particular importance.
In this context, there are huge prospects for French businesses to enter the Uzbekistan market. Its attractiveness is also due to the fact that it is the largest country in Central Asia in terms of population. Uzbekistan products enter duty-free on the CIS market.
Readiness was expressed to provide entrepreneurs from France with all the necessary production infrastructure, broad support in the form of benefits and guaranteed purchases, as well as provide other assistance measures.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev identified the most promising areas for long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation, including the creation of joint production of high-value-added goods, green energy, the food industry, the chemical and automotive industries, electrical engineering, electronics, and healthcare.
Views were exchanged on plans to enhance the partnership. Representatives of French business circles highly appreciated the economic reforms carried out in Uzbekistan. They shared their vision of what specific projects they intend to implement in Uzbekistan.
After talking with each member of the French business delegation, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev invited entrepreneurs to visit Uzbekistan and make sure that the country is the best place for investment.
Following the meeting, the responsible leaders from the Uzbek side were instructed to develop and approve an action plan, including all the voiced initiatives and indicating step-by-step mechanisms, specific deadlines, and executors.