EU ambassador speaks for increasing European Union trade with Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The European Union and Uzbekistan recognize the need to boost bilateral trade and will take efforts to achieve that goal, Eduards Stiprais, Head of the European Union Delegation to Uzbekistan, told a press conference in Tashkent earlier this month, the Jahon information agency reported.

The ambassador cited a slight decrease in the volume of trade between Uzbekistan and the European Union, which amounted to €1.8 billion in 2016. But despite this, the European Union ranks fourth among the country’s largest trading partners after China, Russia and Kazakhstan. Currently, the parties recognize the need to boost trade and intend to bolster efforts toward this goal.

Asked what measures are being taken, Stiprais replied: “They include the establishment of the Trade and Investment Council, planned for this year. In addition to officials, entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan and representatives of European firms and companies will take part in its activities.”

The ambassador added that “investments do not go where there is no opportunity to earn money, pay dividends and extract profits. It’s no secret that the existing foreign exchange policy in Uzbekistan largely hinders the attraction of direct investment. I am glad that this is one of the issues that the government of Uzbekistan is addressing at present. The introduction of market-based methods of currency regulation is described in the Strategy of development. I believe that will be a very strong signal for foreign investors that Uzbekistan is opening its market.”

Stiprais also said that the European Union welcomes Uzbekistan’s efforts aimed at the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, and praised the dynamic development of trade and economic ties between the two neighboring countries over the past six months.

Sergey Kwan

TCA