Uzbekistan’s foreign minister names barriers to foreign investment in the country

TASHKENT (TCA) — From September 2016 to May this year, Uzbekistan signed over 320 trade and investment agreements and contracts with foreign partners for a total amount exceeding US $44 billion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov told the Senate of the Uzbek parliament on May 27, the Jahon Information Agency reported.

The minister said that the Foreign Ministry also works to expand the export of domestic goods. In particular, with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, national companies have concluded a number of contracts for the export of fruit and vegetables, textile products, construction materials, automotive, agricultural and electrical appliances. In addition, according to Kamilov, measures are being taken to open trading houses of Uzbek enterprises in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Kamilov also spoke about problems that hamper further expansion of the investment flow into the national economy.

A significant problem is the lack of a clear division of responsibilities between the ministries and departments of the country on the issues of attracting investments. An unreasonable delay in consideration by the Uzbek ministries and agencies of the proposals of foreign partners arriving from Uzbek diplomatic missions abroad creates a negative impression on the business community abroad. “Many initiatives fail to get proper support, despite the objective benefits for the country, or are even simply ignored,” Kamilov said.

The poor preparation of project documentation, feasibility study and investment proposals do not contribute to boosting investments. According to the minister, the projects proposed by the departments and companies of Uzbekistan do not include the results of marketing research, justification of their prospects, advantages and economic efficiency.

The Foreign Minister said that a survey was recently conducted among foreign investors and experts from reputable financial institutions with experience of working with Uzbekistan, which revealed a number of factors that impede the flow of investments into Uzbekistan. Among them are the problems of currency convertibility and profit repatriation; imperfect banking and credit system; weak protection of investor rights and insufficiently effective judicial system; administrative and bureaucratic barriers related to obtaining licenses and permits; and low investment ratings of the country.

Sergey Kwan