Uzbekistan Aims to Attract More Foreign Investment, Increase Exports

On January 18th, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a government meeting on priority tasks in the field of investment, export and industry for 2024, his press service has reported. It was stated at the meeting that the Uzbekistan 2030 strategy has set a goal of bringing the country’s GDP to $160 billion and per capita income to $4,000 a year, which cannot be achieved solely through the domestic market; meaning there is a need to attract more foreign investment and increase exports.

Over the past six years, the country has received almost $50 billion in foreign investment, with the economy growing by 6% last year. However, exports did not increase.

It was stated that although Uzbekistan has enjoyed the EU’s GSP+ trade preference system and has the opportunity to export 6,200 types of goods to Europe duty-free, only 384 types of goods were exported under this system last year. To take the economy to a new level would require exports to be increased by at least 30% annually.

A total of $200 million has been allocated for export lending, but that has not always translated into the production of value-added products and exports. From now on, subsidies and loans will be provided primarily to exporters entering new markets with products with high added value.

Another issue discussed at the meeting was industrial production. Over the past six years, the volume of investments attracted to industry has increased seven-fold, with equipment worth $14 billion being imported over the past three years. Uzbekistan has created 24 special economic zones (SEZs), where land is allocated in a simplified manner and tax benefits are provided by the state. However, these opportunities are not being fully utilized. For instance, 800 hectares of land with ready-made infrastructure is still empty in the SEZs. Therefore, it was decided that 240 hectares of land in SEZs in the Bukhara, Navoi, and Tashkent regions will be outsourced to foreign companies.

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Times of Central Asia