On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC) held its 2011 U.S.-Uzbekistan Annual Business Forum in Washington, D.C. Featuring presentations from high level officials from the U.S and Uzbek Government and attended by more than 90 representatives of the U.S private industry, international financial organizations, think tanks and policy institutions, the forum was proof of an increased interest by the American business community in the Uzbek market, its resources and its commercial opportunities.
Opening the forum, the AUCC Chairperson and founding member, Carolyn Lamm, greeted the forum participants by stating that: "Since Uzbekistan's Independence, American companies have invested around $500 million in Uzbekistan and all of the largest U.S. investors and businesses in Uzbekistan are active members of the AUCC, who include all of our sponsors and supporters today. We hope to continue contributing to the work of key decision makers and leaders here at home and in Uzbekistan so they understand and appreciate the challenging issues and support U.S. companies in advancing both of our nations' business agenda so both of our economies prosper." Thanking the members of the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Uzbek official delegation to the U.S., Elyor Ganiev, called for greater involvement by U.S. businesses in investment projects in oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, the chemical industry, and the Navoi Free Economic Zone. According to Deputy Prime Minister Ganiev, Uzbekistan, with its continued 8 % GDP growth, is an attractive and stable market despite the global financial crisis which affected developed and developing countries. Today, the Republic of Uzbekistan has 5,000 joint ventures and since the country's independence, the volume of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) amounted to USD 50 billion.
The forum's key guest speakers included officials from the U.S. Department of States, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and experts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as analysts from the leading think tanks and policy institutions such as the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Their review of the economic outlook for Uzbekistan and development opportunities and challenges, analysis of the new approaches and consideration of the U.S. Government resources, including Trade an Investment Framework Agreement, available for doing business overseas as well as promoting bilateral trade were tailored to the interests of the AUCC members. The AUCC members, in turn, spoke of their ongoing cooperation with the Republic of Uzbekistan which started shortly after Uzbekistan became independent. Emphasizing their experience in Uzbekistan, they covered a wide range of industries including the automobile building, exploration of the natural resources, oil and gas, chemical, agricultural and energy. During the forum, American companies and the U.S. and Uzbek government officials expressed their views that the AUCC is a reliable platform for promoting business ties and connecting the U.S. and Uzbekistan's societies and people.
Jobs, economy, exports and secure borders and regions were among other issues discussed during the forum. They will continue to remain among the subjects that the AUCC members pledge to work on and contribute to the people of the United States of America and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
AUCC President, Tim McGraw of NUKEM, one of the founding members of the AUCC, concluded by saying: "Today, American companies have a strong presence in Uzbekistan. Our goal as an organization is to support efforts of U.S. companies in exploring further commercial opportunities and in encouraging our governments to engage in this process. We are confident that these efforts will not only contribute to the economic prosperity of the United States and Uzbekistan, but will also fundamentally strengthen the overall bilateral relationship".