Routes of the Silk Road stretched throughout the half of the world, from China to Western Europe via Uzbekistan brought together East and West for centuries. The land that inherited artifacts and monuments hints at its trade centers like Karmana city in Navoi region.
The government of Uzbekistan is aiming to transform Navoi city located close to historic Karmana into the trade hub of the country – the center for investments and economic development. For the last two years both the city and the free economic zone (FEZ) have gone through major changes.
On June 5, 2018 the territory of FEZ was extended to more than 80 hectares following the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and on May 15, 2019 the whole Navoi region was included to the free economic zone.
“Navoi” FEZ is the industrial platform that unites 44 members. 15 of them are joint ventures, like Hayat Power Cable Systems that is producing high-voltage power line with XLPE insulation.
“Before you deploy the power line under the ground or under the water, it has to go through several stages of production”, says Karomat Raimov, venture worker. “Wire made of copper or aluminum has first to be scaled, then it is reeled up on a vast coil called bobbin. After that, the rolls, intertwined on a cable machine become the power line. Further on it should be twisted and isolated. Once wounded on a cable drum, it is ready for shipping. We produce up to 10 thousand kilometers of different size cables per year”.
Hayat Power Cable Systems as the only venture in Uzbekistan that produces 400 kv power lines unlocks new opportunities to export its product to Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Russia and other countries.
“Navoi FEZ lived through big changes for the last two years, says Habib Abdullaev, the director. “Not only the land, but also the building on the territory of the zone is free for investors. They are also freed from several taxes from 3 to 10 years depending on the investment amount. Those include land tax, income tax, corporate property tax, single tax payment for micro firms and small enterprises, mandatory deduction to the Republican Road Fund and others. Besides, we offer visa privileges.”
The zone doesn’t set strict boundaries on project types, yet its preferences include construction, chemical industry, metallurgy, IT-sector and mechanical engineering.
Navoi International Airport is only 2 kilometers away from FEZ. Temur Babaev, the director of airport says that it is equipped to maintain 11 flights simultaneously, 50 flights per day. There is also a railroad and truck parking lot for 500 units. Airport is upgrading its fuel and lubricant stock and planning to increase the fuel capacity to 50 thousand tons. It barely snows in Navoi region, therefore the airport doesn’t depend on weather conditions. Sustainable flights are ensured.
The representative of BENKAM joint venture Shakhrizod Khosilov states that the FEZ’s location is convenient for international shipping.
“Our company is present on Uzbek market since 2015. Currently, we export up to 35 thousand tons of product to Canada, Germany and United States. FEZ unlocks a convenient transport system which is crucial for shipping to Europe. Our company is growing so as the export. We aim for 75 thousand tons”, he said.
Navoi Free Economic Zone gets a second breath. The volume of investment for 2017-2018 has exceeded the total amount of investment since its inception.
Since Navoi region has been declared the free economic zone, a number of investors knocked on directory’s doors. As Abdullaev states, three days following the decree, directory received around 20 requests. That means they have a lot of work to do.
When asked why investors should bring their money to Navoi region, deputy khokimUktam Islamov says it is the region with abundant natural resources. “Nearly all elements of periodic table are present here. Navoi region works in line with all international standards. We have a great capacity potential and planning to set up branches of leading universities of Uzbekistan and the world in here”, concluded Islamov.
Navoi FEZ is the undiscovered platform. It is growing exponentially and stands ready to collaborate with local and international investors.