US commerce secretary applauds ‘successful’ reforms in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT (TCA) — During a visit to Uzbekistan, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross hailed the Uzbek government’s commitment to democratic reforms and called for close partnership between the United States and Central Asia’s most populous country, RFE/RL reported.

Ross held talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev and addressed the American-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce Business Forum on October 23 as part of his Central Asian tour.

“I want to applaud the successful political and democratic reforms that are under way in Uzbekistan and to encourage your continued commitment to them,” Ross said in his speech at the forum, according to a transcript posted on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Mirziyoev, who came to power in 2016, has taken some steps to improve ties with the West and its neighbors and move away from the oppressive policies of his predecessor, Islam Karimov.

While praising many of the efforts, rights groups have continued to express concerns about free speech, censorship, and prosecutions of journalists in the country of 32 million.

U.S. President Donald Trump “commended President Mirziyoev’s efforts to build bridges and relationships between Uzbekistan and its neighbors,” Ross said.

The secretary of commerce added that the United States was “absolutely committed to being a strategic partner in your growth and development, through trade, investment, and your outreach to other nations in Central Asia.”

In the first nine months of this year, due to active cooperation with American companies, Uzbekistan doubled bilateral trade turnover and brought it to 332 million US dollars, Uzbekistan’s Jahon information agency reported. Currently, 210 enterprises are successfully operating in Uzbekistan, and 25 enterprises have been created since the beginning of this year with participation of American capital.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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