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India-Uzbekistan to target USD 1 Billion trade

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WTC Mumbai in association with All India Association of Industries organized an interactive session on ‘Investment Climate and Tourism Potential’ with Mr. Avaz D. Khodjiev, Counselor (Trade & Economic), Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on November 4, 2017.
“Uzbekistan is setting up seven new Free Economic Zones (FEZ) to attract foreign and domestic investment. We welcome Indian companies to set up their businesses in these zones. We are willing to dedicate one of these zones exclusively for Indian companies. Further, Indian companies can also explore the great tourism potential that Uzbekistan has to offer in ecological tourism, health tourism, sport tourism and business tourism,” said Mr. Khodjiev organized by World Trade Centre Mumbai
“I am confident that by exploring cooperation in the above areas, the existing bilateral trade of US$ 370 million can reach US$1 billion projected in the joint road map set out by our two countries in the coming years”, Mr. Khodjiev opined
Mr. Khodjiev suggested Indian companies to consider Uzbekistan as gateway to the CIS countries and Georgia, with whom it has signed free trade agreements. Uzbekistan also has most favoured nation (MFN) status with 45 countries including India.
In his presentation on ‘Free Economic Zones in Uzbekistan and Tourism Potential, Mr. Khodjiev spoke of the macroeconomic stability of his country citing that the GDP has risen at the rate of about 8 per cent in the last few years; total external debt does not exceed 18.5 per cent; Internal public debt fell from 18 per cent in 2000 to 0% in 2014; export grew by more than 30 times between 1990 and 2016; and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of US$ 1014 million in 2007 to US$ 4000 million in 2016. Uzbekistan has made substantial progress in terms of ease of doing business on parameters such as contract enforcement, purchasing power parity, starting a business, resolving insolvency and getting credit. Further, Uzbekistan is in the top 5 fastest growing economies in the World. It is rich in raw materials such as ferrous, non-ferrous metals and oil and natural gas resources.
Mr. Khodjiev enlightened on the 3 active FEZ namely FIEZ NAVOI, FEZ DJIZAK and FEZ ANGREN which are exempt from most taxes and offer privileges and incentives. The new upcoming 7 free economic zones are Nukus Pharm FEZ, Zomin Pharm FEZ, Kosonsoy Pharm FEZ, Syrdaryo Pharm FEZ, Boysun Pharm FEZ, Bustanlik and Parkent Pharm FEZ and Gijduvan, a New Industrial Free Economic Zones. Kokand FEZ was recently announced on September 5, 2017. All of the FEZs are offering scope for activities in the areas of fruits and vegetables and deep processing of agricultural products, storage and packaging industry; textile industry; carpet industry; footwear and leather industry; environmentally safe, chemical and petrochemical industry; pharmaceutical industry; food industry; electrical industry; mechanical engineering; motor-car construction; production of building materials industry etc.
Earlier in his welcome remarks Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Uzbekistan in India and President, All India Association of Industries said, “With improvement in the ease of doing business and India’s ambitious initiatives such as Make in India, there are innumerable opportunities between Uzbekistan and India which can be explored. The bilateral trade of 370 million is meager and there are much more opportunities in minerals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, oil and gas, automotive, agriculture, construction material, tourism etc. Uzbekistan is an independent and dynamic country and both countries can work together in trade-related and trade promotion areas and thereby foster fruitful collaborations.”
Mr. Kalantri suggested that both countries can explore possibilities of direct flights between Uzbekistan and Mumbai. He also said that multiple entry visas of 5-10 years can be granted as is given in Europe, US and Canada, in order to provide a fillip to business and tourism.
Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai proposed the vote of thanks.

In Photo (from left to right) Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director,WTC Mumbai, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman WTC Mumbai and President, All India Association of Industries and Mr. Avaz D. Khodjiev, Counselor (Trade & Economic), Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan .