According to Uzbekistan’s Statistics Agency, in 2023 investments in the country’s fixed capital amounted to $28.5bn, with the share of foreign investment and loans in fixed capital reaching 53.4%. The largest part of foreign investments and loans came from China (25.6% of the total). Russia was in second place (13.4%), Saudi Arabia was third (7.9%), followed by Turkey (6.4%), the United Arab Emirates (5.8%), and Germany (4.3%).
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China has lifted restrictions on the import of poultry from Kazakhstan, as well as removing import restrictions related to foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture has announced. China’s ban on Kazakh poultry has been in place since 2005, and restrictions on the import of Kazakh meat due to foot-and-mouth disease concerns were introduced in 2022. The lifting of the restrictions allows exports of frozen beef and pork from the southeastern regions of Kazakhstan to resume, as well as of a wide range of poultry products. The decision to lift the ban comes as a result of president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s visit to China last year, during which he raised this issue in talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. During 2023 China conducted a risk assessment for avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease in Kazakhstan. In December, specialists from the Chinese customs service and Ministry of Agriculture visited Kazakhstan to assess the country’s veterinary service, to make sure that it provides sufficient control over foot-and-mouth disease. According to the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture, between January and October 2023 agricultural trade between Kazakhstan and China increased by 70% and exceeded $1bn, with Kazakh exports amounting to $811.1m.
The China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, Sinopec, will become part of a large polyethylene project in Kazakhstan. This was announced on January 29th by the chairman of Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunayGas, Magzum Mirzagaliyev, and Sinopec’s president Yu Baocai, during a meeting in China. The project will begin with the construction of a polyethylene production plant with a capacity of 1.25 million tons per year in the special economic zone in Karabatan, close to the Tengiz field in western Kazakhstan. The plant will produce a wide range of products, including premium high-density polyethylene, which is in constant high demand throughout the world. The plant will help maintain social stability in the region. About 8,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase, and about 850 permanent jobs will be created during the operation period. “This year we expect the final investment decision to be made, which will be the starting point for moving to an important stage — the start of construction,” Mr Mirzagaliyev commented. To date, license agreements for the use of technologies have been signed with Chevron Phillips Chemical and Univation Technologies, world leaders in this field.
On January 25th, as part of his state visit to China, Uzbekistan's president Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the Uzbek-Chinese Investment Forum in the city of Shenzhen. The forum brought together heads of government agencies and regions in the two countries, and more than 600 representatives of large Chinese companies. Mr Mirziyoyev outlined priorities and promising areas for Uzbek-Chinese cooperation. These included simplifying the procedure for attracting funds from Chinese financial institutions for infrastructure development projects, industrial cooperation in priority sectors of the economy, and processing of strategic raw materials. Mirziyoyev stressed the need to adopt Chinese technologies in sustainable agriculture, and to introduce scientific approaches to land rehabilitation.
On January 25th, as part of his state visit to China, Uzbekistan's president Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the headquarters of the Chinese company BYD in Shenzhen. The company is a leading global producer of new energy vehicles and next-generation batteries. Mr Mirziyoyev and BYD's president Wang Chuanfu took part in the launch ceremony of a project for the assembly of hybrid and electric vehicles in Uzbekistan’s Jizzakh region, with a capacity of 50,000 vehicles per year. Mr Mirziyoyev expressed hopes to expand the model range in the future, and increase the production capacity to 300,000 vehicles per year, his press service reported. He also supported the Chinese company’s plans to establish the assembly of BYD electric buses in Uzbekistan with the localization of spare parts production and creation of engineering and service centers.
During their talks in Beijing on January 24th, Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev upgraded ties between China and Uzbekistan to an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership”. During negotiations the two leaders announced that in recent years a strong breakthrough has been made in bilateral relations, with the strengthening of political dialogue and mutual support on key issues. The presidents highlighted the growth in mutual trade, as well as economic and investment cooperation, with the volume of Chinese investments in the economy of Uzbekistan having grown fivefold and the number of joint ventures having tripled in recent years. It was noted that at the end of last year two new solar power plants with a capacity of 1000 megawatts were put into operation in Uzbekistan with the participation of Chinese companies. Mr Mirziyoyev welcomed new agreements on expanding financial instruments to support investment projects in Uzbekistan, as well as the decision of the Export–Import Bank of China to open a regional office for Central Asia in Tashkent. The leaders welcomed the intensification of exchanges between the regions of Uzbekistan and the provinces of China. To coordinate cooperation in this direction, they have agreed to establish the Council of Regions of Uzbekistan and China. The Chinese and Uzbek presidents also emphasized the importance of bringing forward the start of construction work for the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, which is designed to be an important component of the transcontinental transport and transit route as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.