The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev sent a message to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi due to the terrorist act in the Minya Governorate, which killed and wounded many innocent people.
In his message, the Head of Uzbekistan expressed deep condolences and sympathy to the President and brotherly nation of Egypt, families and relatives of those died, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
(May 27, 2017, Tashkent)
Dear Nigmatilla Tulkinovich!
Distinguished members of the Senate, esteemed participants of the Session!
The issue of attraction of foreign investments into the national economy introduced to the agenda by President of Uzbekistan, esteemed Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoev is defined as the most important priority of the foreign policy strategy of our state.
In the framework of implementing the instructions of the President and realization of the Strategy of actions for further development of the country in 2017-2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, missions of Uzbekistan abroad are conducting a systemic work in terms of increasing the trade-investment, scientific-technological and tourist cooperation with foreign partners, as well as consolidating the image of our country on the international arena.
Twelve sessions of intergovernmental commissions on trade-economic and investment-technological cooperation were held. 130 visits of economic delegations of Uzbekistan to foreign countries and 266 visits of foreign business delegations to Uzbekistan were paid.
As a whole, for over the past 9 months the total volume of signed trade-investment agreements and contracts made up more than 320 for a total amount of nearly 44 billion dollars. With a view of ensuring their unconditional and full-scale realization, the practical action plans (“roadmaps”) were approved with 13 countries.
In order to expand the exports of domestic goods, the missions abroad rendered assistance to national companies in concluding contracts for the delivery of fruit and vegetable, and textile products, construction materials, automobile, agricultural and household appliances to the countries of near and far abroad, as well as establishing the trading houses of Uzbek enterprises in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Pakistan, Afghanistan and number of other countries.
Along with assistance of diplomatic corps and offices of international organizations accredited in Tashkent, as well as our diplomatic missions, the foreign grants and technical assistance for a total amount of more than 240 million dollars were attracted last year to Uzbekistan.
After a five-year-long hard and meticulous work by the Ministry and number of our diplomatic missions, the European Parliament approved the “Textile protocol” between Uzbekistan and the European Union. Entrance of this document into force will not only allow increase exports of the Uzbek textile goods to the EU markets, but also send a positive signal to foreign investors in terms of capital inputs in Uzbekistan.
It should be specially noted the resumption of Uzbekistan’s engagement with the EBRD. In addition, the active work is underway in terms of concluding an agreement with the European Investment Bank.
Drawing a massive flow of tourists into Uzbekistan continues to remain a priority direction of the Foreign Ministry’s activity. For over January through April this year, the diplomatic missions conducted over 500 events, including seminars, presentations, roundtables, briefings, the Culture Days and fairs. The tourist potential of Uzbekistan was broadly presented at them.
The Foreign Ministry is working to ease procedures of issuance entrance visas for the large and reliable foreign investors and highly qualified specialists. At present, there is a simplified procedure of issuing visas for 13 states (Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Malaysia, Thailand, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Japan). In addition, the Foreign Ministry is working on the procedure of issuance of multiple visas in simplified order for businesspeople from Turkey and China.
In the framework of promoting Uzbekistan’s positive image on the international arena 230 articles and news-stories were published in the large foreign print media. Along with assistance of the Information Agency “Jahon” and its correspondent offices abroad, more than 100 representatives of foreign media visited Uzbekistan to cover modern development, economic and tourist potential.
Besides, the new draft Law “On diplomatic service” and Consular Statute in new wording, as well as the Statute on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in new wording envisage the significant expansion of tasks and functions of bodies of diplomatic service in terms of attracting the direct foreign investments, means of foreign funds and grant assistance.
In the framework of realization of Strategy of actions in 2017-2021, the draft of the five-year program document on foreign policy and foreign economic activity of the country was worked out.
Dear members of the Senate!
Despite the efforts, which we have been undertaking in terms of attracting the foreign investments and advanced technologies into national economy, the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our missions abroad to promote the economic interests of the country abroad cannot be considered as sufficient.
Seven ambassadors were relieved from their posts for a weak organization of the work, passiveness and inertness in implementation of assignments of the Head of State. Since early this year, upon the order of the Minister, three deputy ministers and two heads of departments were severely reprimanded for the irresponsibility and negligence of duties.
I would like to highlight the following among the major shortcomings in the work of the most of our diplomatic missions.
First, the low level of managing the embassy staff and loss of exactingness to staff members in fulfilling the immediate duties in terms of attracting the foreign investments and increasing the export volumes to external markets;
Second, the unsatisfactory performance in terms of establishing, maintaining and expanding the ties with business circles of the host country;
Third, the lack of effective system of analysis and permanent monitoring of the social-economic situation, trend and dynamics of development of branches of economy of the receiving state, as well as the priorities of its foreign economic policy. The counselors for trade and economic issues are not handling their tasks in terms of attracting investments and increasing the country’s export potential. In our opinion, the main reason is insufficient level of professional skills, lack of practical experience of conducting negotiations with foreign partners, inability to draft the information-analytical materials, as well as poor knowledge of foreign languages.
First – the lack of a clear and explicit distribution of responsibilities among ministries and agencies in matters of attracting investments;
Second – an unreasonable delay in consideration by the ministries and agencies of the proposals of foreign partners arriving from our diplomatic missions. Many initiatives fail to get proper support, despite the objective benefits for the country, or even simply ignored. The etiquette requires reciprocating the communications of foreign partners, even if their proposals are not of an interest to us;
Third – poor preparation of project documentation, feasibility studies and investment proposals. The quality of investment projects and proposals of the branch institutions and companies is assessed by foreign experts as “low” and “not corresponding to international standards”. They lack the results of marketing research. They don’t have the answer for the question to what extent the proposed projects are prospective. They also lack the advantage and cost-effectiveness of the projects, not to mention the absence of generally accepted requirements – an indication of postal address, telephone and fax numbers, and electronic mail.
Dear participants of the Session!
Uzbekistan – with a huge investment potential – is still lagging behind many states in terms of attracting foreign capital into its economy. In order to identify the main reasons for the remaining low level of foreign investments in our economy, the Foreign Ministry together with the diplomatic missions has conducted a survey among foreign investors, businessmen and experts from reputable financial institutions with experience of working with Uzbekistan. As a result, the representatives of the foreign business community named a number of factors and conditions that impede the flow of investments into Uzbekistan. Among them:
– 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. Many foreign companies are dissatisfied with the procedure for obtaining licenses and permits during carrying out their activities;
– low investment ratings.
I want to inform you that on the outcomes of an in-depth and comprehensive study of the proposals and recommendations of foreign investors, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, relevant ministries and agencies drafted and introduced to the President a draft of State program of priority measures for further improvement of the investment climate, stimulating the attraction of foreign investment and modern technologies into sectors of economy and regions of Uzbekistan.
In order to improve the activity of the Foreign Ministry and missions abroad in attracting investments and modern technologies, strengthening the interagency cooperation in this area, as well as increasing the investment potential we deem it appropriate to adopt the following measures:
1) Approve the Strategy of Foreign Policy and Foreign Economic Activity of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021 developed by us together with the relevant ministries and agencies;
2) Optimize the structure of Uzbekistan’s diplomatic missions in foreign states and revise their staffing structure based on critical analysis;
It is important to define the list of key countries in which it is appropriate to strengthen the economic activities of embassies and to introduce, if necessary, an additional staff of trade counselors;
3) Establish within the Foreign Ministry an independent subdivision on international economic cooperation. The work in this direction is already underway;
4) Reconsider the fundamental principles of training of international economists, having in mind, first of all, improvement of the activities of the leading educational institutions in this sphere, including the University of World Economy and Diplomacy;
5) Develop a single standard for drafting the project proposals based on world practice. To actively involve the leading western consulting companies in developing technical documentation for the quality preparation of investment projects and proposals on privatization of enterprises and facilities;
6) Continue the work on liberalization of the foreign exchange market and the banking and financial system, improvement of legislation to ensure the reliable protection of the rights and interests of investors;
7) Expand cooperation with international rating agencies and research institutions. It is important to ensure the regular publication of economic data in open sources, including the information on the state budget and its implementation, monetary policy, foreign trade indicators, etc., which is necessary for foreign investors in order to implement the investment activities.
Dear Nigmatilla Tulkinovich,
In conclusion, I would like to draw the attention of our distinguished senators to the fact that the Foreign Ministry’s scope of duties, in addition to facilitating the attraction of investments and advanced technologies to Uzbekistan, includes such priority tasks as upholding and promoting national interests in the international arena, building balanced, stable and predictable relations with major states and regional powers, strengthening regional security and forming a prosperity and stability belt around Uzbekistan, expanding the legal-treaty basis of international cooperation, protecting the rights and interests of Uzbekistan’s citizens abroad, and others.
It also includes settling the issues of reasonable and fair use of the resources of transboundary watercourses, resolving the problems of delimitation and demarcation of the state border, establishing constructive and friendly relations with neighboring countries. Figuratively speaking, the main task of the Foreign Ministry is to ensure the security and stability of the country on close and distant approaches.
I can firmly assure you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our missions abroad will do their utmost to ensure timely and effective implementation of the political and diplomatic tasks set before us, as well as the priorities in the trade, economic and investment spheres. We count on the comprehensive assistance and support of the entire Senate corps, the Office of the President and members of the Government.
Thank you for attention!
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
On 29 May, 2017, the delegation of the European Investment Bank, headed by the vice-president of the bank Vazil Hudák, arrived in Tashkent.
The program of the visit includes meetings and negotiations on prospective areas of cooperation in the Senat of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a number of ministries and departments.
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
On May 31, 2017, the delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic headed by Junior Deputy Minister Ivan Jančárek will arrive in Tashkent to participate in the sixth round of the Uzbek-Czech political consultations.
During the visit to Uzbekistan, the Czech delegation will hold meetings in the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Ministry for Foreign Trade, the State Committee on Investments, and also visit the Khorezm region.
Peugeot Citroën Group and Uzavtosanoat have come to a decision to establish a joint venture Uzbekistan Peugeot Citroën Automotive on the territory of Jizzakh Free Economic Zone.
The plant will specialize in manufacturing the full industrial cycle of light commercial vehicles under Peugeot and Citroën brands, designed for passenger and cargo transportation. The authorized capital of the joint venture will be 30 million euros with an equal share distribution. Total investment makes up nearly 130 million euros.
Peugeot Citroën Group will deliver new technologies, modern production processes and organize staff training. The plant will function in accordance with modern Peugeot Citroën production management, quality, procurement, supply and sales systems.
The joint venture also plans to ensure at least 50% of localization from the first year of production, by attracting domestic manufacturers of automotive components, the number of which currently totals 30 large Uzavtosanoat-owned plants, and over 160 medium and small enterprises.
The company’s production capacity is estimated at 16,000 cars per year, to be sold both in Uzbekistan and in export markets of near and far abroad.
“The segment of light commercial vehicles has been the only undeveloped type of vehicles in Uzbekistan,” said Rustam Yusupov, deputy chairman of Uzavtosanoat Board of Directors. “The project will make it possible to make a new step in the development of domestic automotive industry. Along with an increase in the employment of the population, the new joint venture will contribute to the further growth of Uzbekistan’s industrial production.”
Peugeot Citroën Group Vice-president Christophe Bergerand noted that the project fully corresponds to the strategic five-year development plan of the French company.
“This is an excellent opportunity to develop our company’s business in the segment of light commercial vehicles, and ensure profitable growth in the region. We highly appreciate the constructive dialogue with Uzbek partners, and personal support of the President of Uzbekistan, which has determined the creation of a joint venture,” he said.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
On May 22, Uzbekistan has marked the International Day for Biological Diversity. Another remarkable ecology-related date – the World Environment Day – is on the footsteps. This is a good reason to review the state of environment protection and rational use of natural resources.
Intensive anthropological economic activity with inappropriate attention to the capacity of nature and the laws of its evolution has entailed many conflicts – desertification, soil erosion, depletion of water resources, lack of quality drinking water, air pollution, decrease of biodiversity and ozone layer.
In the context of global climate change and destruction of the ecosystem, a tendency of increasing frequency of abnormal natural disasters, which, coupled with the effects of human activity, cause technogenic catastrophes of unprecedented scale, has become an uncontested truth.
The issues of regulating the human impact on the ecosystem, maintaining a favorable environment, achieving a balance in the ‘humans-nature’ relationship, have been gaining relevance in the conditions of rapid globalization and changes in the geopolitical structure of the world.
We have to keep in mind that the violation of environmental imperatives and postulates entails problems and disasters, whose tragic consequences fail to be eliminated for decades. The ecological disaster of the Aral Sea is a dramatic example, which led to the loss of specific species of flora and fauna, degradation of water and land resources, and the growing threat of desertification.
The history of civilization knows no case when a whole sea disappears in the eyes of one generation. Today, the Aral Sea disaster has outgrown the borders of the region, turning into a global problem, and requiring close attention of international organizations, politicians, scientists and experts from around the world.
During the years of independence, Uzbekistan has created an up-to-date fundamental legal and regulatory framework for environmental protection and use of natural resources. The Government approved more than 15 laws that directly regulate relations in nature protection and rational use of natural resources, over 30 legislative acts that define the mechanisms and conditions for the use of certain types of natural resources, as well as the procedure of implementation of state environmental expertise, formation of various categories of protected natural areas, establishment of specific terms in them, and other issues.
Remarkable quality changes have taken place in the agricultural policy and in the agrarian sector of the country. Huge funds have been invested in the implementation of practical measures to optimize and diversify agriculture, improve land reclamation. They have laid a strong foundation for ensuring environmental and food security, created decent living conditions for the population and personal fulfillment.
The Action Strategy for Five Development Priority Areas for 2017-2021, put forward by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and adopted after a broad public discussion, has become a remarkable step in the radical enhancement of effectiveness of the ongoing reforms, ensuring integrated development of the country, implementation of priority areas for its modernization. The third priority area of the Action Strategy envisages the modernization and intensive development of agriculture.
First of all, it implies intensification of structural reforms and dynamic development of agricultural production, the further strengthening of the country’s food security, expansion of production of green products, a significant increase in the export capacity of the agricultural sector, as well as the further reduction in the acreage for cotton and grain crops through their replacement with potatoes, vegetables, fodder and oilseeds, establishment of new intensive gardens and vineyards. The goal is to gradually reduce the production and government procurement of raw cotton to 3 million tons by 2020. These measures should release 170,500 hectares of irrigated lands, which later on will be efficiently used in agricultural production.
It is planned to create favorable conditions for the development of farms, primarily diversified farms, which would specialize in the production of agricultural products, as well as processing, harvesting, storage, marketing, construction and services. Investment projects will envisage the construction of new, reconstruction and modernization of existing processing enterprises and equipping them with the latest options of high-tech equipment for enhanced processing of agricultural products, production of semi-finished and finished food products, as well as packaging products. It is also planned to expand the infrastructure for storage, transportation and marketing of agricultural products, provision of agrochemical, financial and other modern market services.
There are plans afoot to improve the reclamation state of irrigated lands, broadly introduce intensive technologies into agricultural production, primarily latest water and resource saving agrotechnologies, as well as mitigate the negative impact of global climate change and the drying up of the Aral Sea on the development of agriculture and livelihoods of the population. The national program the ‘Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests’ is seen as a guarantor of fulfillment of the tasks and achievement of the goals for 2017-2021. The program envisages taking certain measures on modernization and intensive development of agriculture.
In order to ensure rational use of land and water resources, it is planned to reduce cotton areas by 49,000 hectares and grain crops by 10,000 hectares. The areas released from grain crops and cotton will be occupied by vegetables, fodder, oilseeds, as well as potatoes, intensive gardens and vineyards. Reconstruction of over 24,000 hectares of gardens and vineyards will help to increase the production of fruit and vegetable products that are highly marketable in foreign markets.
It is planned to gradually introduce drip irrigation systems on 5,700 hectares of intensive gardens and vineyards annually. Achievement of sustainable production of agricultural products will be ensured through rational and careful use of water resources, improvement of reclamation state of irrigated lands, development of reclamation and irrigation facilities, ensuring their safe and sustainable operation. Prevention of sharp scale-ups in prices for agricultural products on the domestic market and provision of food security is of particular attention.
By taking these measures, our country will ensure the sustainable development of social, economic and environmental sectors, the essence of which comes to consolidation of the principles of the right of every citizen for favorable environment, satisfaction of the needs of the present generation without affecting the posterity, and reasonable and careful attitude to natural resources.
At the same time, the analysis of the current system of public administration and control over environmental protection has revealed certain shortcomings and problematic issues.
In particular, there is a lack of a vertical management and a unified state body to control waste management processes, inadequate interagency cooperation and low efficiency in solving environmental problems, inadequate measures of administrative punishment for violations of environmental and health standards and requirements, provided by the law.
In this regard, in order to successfully meet the goals of the Action Strategy, the President approved a Decree ‘On streamlining the public administration system in ecology and environmental protection’. It provides for the transformation of the State Committee for Nature Protection into the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, subordinate and accountable to the Cabinet of Ministers.
The State Committee for Ecology is entrusted with state management in ecology, environmental protection, rational use and reproduction of natural resources, establishment of an efficient system for collecting, transporting, recycling and disposal of domestic waste, ensuring a favorable ecological state of the environment, protection of ecological systems, natural complexes and certain facilities, improvement of the environmental situation, state environmental control over compliance with the laws on protection and use of land, mineral resources, water, forests, protected natural areas, flora and fauna, protection of atmospheric air, waste management, organization of ecological education, advocacy and enlightenment, as well as retraining and advanced training of specialists in ecology and environmental protection.
The Decree ahs paved the way to the creation of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Waste Management Fund on the basis of the republican and territorial nature protection funds. Its funds will primarily be channeled to finance activities in waste management, conservation and reproduction of bioresources, scientific research.
Based on the experience of foreign countries in the establishment of ecology and environmental authorities, it is envisaged to introduce amendments and additions to the legislation of the republic that provides for the accountability of the State Committee for Ecology to the Cabinet of Ministers.
Amendments and additions will also be introduced to the Administrative Responsibility Code, which stipulates the enhancement of liability of individuals and officials by increasing penalties for violations of legislation in waste management, in the laws ‘On nature protection’ and ‘On subsoil’ in part of strengthening of the liability of legal entities and individuals for violations of the established procedure for the extraction of common mineral resources.
The adoption of the document would advance the level of public administration and control bodies in the field of environmental protection and rational nature management, ensure effective interdepartmental interaction in this area, create conditions for a favorable ecological state of the environment, protection of ecological systems, natural complexes and certain objects.
A Presidential Decree ‘On Measures for Fundamental Improvement and Development of the Waste Management System for 2017-2021’ is another important document in this area.
The State Committee for Ecology reported on ongoing system-based work to comply with the objectives outlined in the resolution.
“Prevention of the negative impact of waste on the environment and human health ranks among the problems that require a global solution,” said Nu’mon Shokirov, Deputy Head of the Headquarters of the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection. “To date, over 5 billion tons of waste has accumulated on our planet. Only 30% of them are recycled. More than 100 million tons of industrial and about 5 million tons of household waste accumulate in our country annually.”
Waste recycling would push economic development. For example, getting paper from waste paper allows not just preserving forests, but also reducing the consumption of other resources. When recycling waste paper and producing one ton of paper from it, half the volume of water needed to make it from wood is saved.
This is the reason why developed countries of the world have been improving their waste processing systems. Japan, for instance, produces 34% of rubber and cable, 43% of glass, 54% of paper and paperboard through recycling, the Chinese – 33% of aluminum, iron, copper, 34% of wool, silk, leather goods.
The authorities of Uzbekistan have also been taking serious measures on waste processing. More than 300 enterprises specialize on this area. Its development is seen as an important requirement of the present time.
Aiming to improve the sanitary-epidemiological and ecological state, Uzbekistan developed a plan of measures to streamline the system of collection, storage, utilization and recycling of waste in 2017-2021. Investment projects totaling $161 million will be implemented for this purpose in Tashkent, Samarkand, Andijan and Namangan. The construction of waste recycling enterprises is scheduled in Nukus and in all regional centers.
To do this, the collection of household waste will be expanded. To ensure effective implementation of the objectives, it is planned to establish state unitary enterprises ‘Toza Hudud’ under the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection and its territorial structures. Previously, the work on collection of domestic garbage was carried out solely in urban areas. From now and on, it will be undertaken all over the country, including remote villages.
It is planned to redouble attention to the collection and processing of electronic waste. The State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, together with Toshrangmetzavod Company, has been actively involved in this process under a joint program. Last year, the company recycled 180 tons of electronic waste.
The performance has been improving this year. A well-equipped limited liability company Toshrangmetzavod Recycling was established with this purpose. Its team established cooperation with trading complexes of Media Park. They have opened specialized points for waste collection, and introduced incentive discounts for waste. It is planned to open similar points in all regions of our country by the end of the year.
On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, members of the Ecology Movement of Uzbekistan came together for a seminar with participation of members of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, environmental scientists, teachers, students of Tashkent universities.
Biodiversity is a common heritage, which is of great value for present and future generations, the participants noted. Scaled work has been done over the last decade for its preservation. For example, the ecological center Jeyran has been expanded to 16,500 hectares, and in the future it will grow by 4,500 hectares.
Two state reserves – Kumsulton and Hadicha, natural monuments Paikent and Varakhsha in Bukhara region, Lower Amudarya State Biosphere Reserve – a new type of protected natural territories, Durmon National Garden have been created to preserve, increase the number and rationally use rare and valuable plants. 51 ornithological territories were classified and included into an inventory.
Formation of an ecological culture of the population is an equally important issue. It is necessary that people realized that changes in the ecosystem can lead to catastrophic consequences.
The rallies held by the Ecology Movement on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity help to draw public attention to the problems of environmental protection, cultivate ecoculture in the youth, and actively involve them in environmental activities. For example, last year they organized an excursion to the zoo, handing vitamins and vaccines over for its inhabitants. Every spring, activists create ecogardens, plant fruit and ornamental trees together with representatives of NGOs. Last summer, the eco-gardens produced a rich harvest of apples, which was handed over to the children of the Mehribonlik mercy homes in the capital.
… Conservation of nature requires permanent attention. The ongoing work in this direction is an important platform for the preservation of a healthy natural environment for the posterity.
(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for the Support of NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions)
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
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