EAEU — Uzbekistan: cooperation for building trade and economic relations

Proposals on progressive development of trade and economic interaction between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Republic of Uzbekistan were drawn up during the second meeting of the joint working group on interaction between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The face-to-face event was held on August 30 in the EEC headquarters and was co-chaired by Sergei Glazyev, Commission Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics, and Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The meeting was attended by representatives of the EEC, public authorities of Uzbekistan and EAEU Member States, as well as the business community.

Sergei Glazyev pointed out that Uzbekistan was the closest EAEU partner in terms of both the scale of trade and economic cooperation and interaction quality and depth.

"The results of joint efforts and leveraging the opportunities that Uzbekistan enjoys as the EAEU observer are not long in coming: we see an increase in all indicators of trade and economic cooperation. The EAEU and Uzbekistan are more and more important for each other as trading partners and since the EAEU was established, the trade turnover between the Union states and Uzbekistan has grown twofold. Last year it exceeded 11 bn US dollars," emphasized Sergei Glazyev.

"For Uzbekistan, the EAEU is a major trading partner. I am pleased to note how fruitful and substantive was the discussion that facilitated implementation of initiatives by the Head of Uzbekistan on intensifying trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and Uzbekistan and addressing the tasks of building trade and economic relations between Uzbekistan and the EAEU, which the Government of Uzbekistan sets in using the EAEU observer status," said Badriddin Abidov in his turn.

The meeting participants considered approaches to harmonizing technical regulation provisions and elimination of technical barriers in trade; matters of customs regulation and using navigation seals for tracking cargo shipments; joint activities in industrial and agro-industrial cooperation; measures for developing transport corridors, digitalization and speeding up rail freight transportation; proposals on promoting business activity between business communities of the EAEU Member States and Uzbekistan; etc.

Goar Barsegyan, Director of the EEC Integration Development Department, noted that joint plans by the EEC and the Government of Uzbekistan were fulfilled to a high degree.

"70% of 108 measures envisaged in the plan have been implemented. Effectiveness of our joint work was not significantly affected either by epidemiological restrictions or by any other factors," noted Goar Barsegyan.

The day before the working group meeting the Commission held thematic seminars for representatives of Uzbekistan where they could get information on the powers of the EAEU authorities, the current level of the Union's integration, the traceability mechanism for goods moved between the EAEU Member States and imported into the Union's territory from third countries, as well as customs administration matters within the EEC competence.

Following the discussion, the working group came up with proposals on ensuring progressive development of trade and economic interaction between the EAEU and Uzbekistan. In particular, it is recommended to continue conducting industry consultations and seminars and taking joint measures on such matters as further harmonization in the field of customs cooperation; technical regulation; sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary standards and regulatory systems; competition and state procurement; interaction on the matter of Uzbekistan's engagement in the Eurasian Agroexpress project; addressing the possibility of Uzbekistan's involvement in the EAEU project on digitalizing freight transport; promoting cooperation ties and deepened localization in chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, engineering, instrumentation, electrical engineering and agro-industrial cooperation.

The working group recommended the EAEU Business Council and the CCI of Uzbekistan to formalize their cooperation and proceed to organizing joint business missions. The discussion demonstrated that an important step towards unleashing the trade and economic cooperation might be an EAEU–Uzbekistan business forum.

For reference

In December 2020, Uzbekistan was granted the status of the EAEU observer state. On April 30, 2021 in Kazan, the parties signed the Memorandum
 of Interaction between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and approved the Joint Action Plan of the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2021–2023. During the visit of Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the EEC Board, to Tashkent on July 12, 2022 the plan was supplemented with new interaction areas.

The working group was established in accordance with the memorandum.

Uzbekistan is an important foreign trade partner of the EAEU.
According to the EEC, in 2021 the EAEU trade turnover with this country grew by 22.9% and reached 11.6 bn US dollars: in particular, exports increased by 17.9% (to 8.5 bn US dollars), while imports increased by 39.1% (to 3.1 bn US dollars).