Weeks in Review:
October 15, 2011 - October 21, 2011
AUCC in Brief
Established in 1993, the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC) is a private, non-profit trade association representing interests of U.S. businesses ranging in size from small private enterprises to large, multinational corporations conducting business in Uzbekistan.
Our Mission: To advocate the views of the business community to ensure that private sector positions are considered during the development of key policies that impact American businesses and the future of U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.
Our Objective: To serve the needs of its members by strengthening commercial relations between the United States and Uzbekistan.
|Clinton to visit Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
The State Department says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit Tajikistan (tah-JEEK'-ih-stahn) and Uzbekistan (ooz-behk-ih-STAHN') this weekend as she wraps up a Central Asian tour focused on securing and stabilizing Afghanistan.
After meetings in Pakistan on Friday, Clinton will travel to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe and then move on Saturday to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent (TAHSH'-kehnt), the department said. She returns to Washington on Sunday.
Clinton is making the visits to press for Afghanistan's full integration into the region as part of efforts to bring an end to the years of war there.
Hillary Clinton to visit GM plant in Uzbekistan
David Shepardson/ Detroit News Washington Bureau of 10/18/2011
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to visit a General Motors Co. plant in central Asia on Sunday, the company said Tuesday.
Clinton will visit GM's new powertrain factory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said Greg Martin, a GM spokesman.
The Detroit automaker holds 97 percent of the market share in the former Soviet Republic through a joint venture.
That's the highest share the Detroit automaker holds in any GM market.
GM Uzbekistan, a vehicle manufacturing joint venture located in Asaka, Uzbekistan, was created in October 2008 by GM and government-owned UzAvtosanoat.
GM holds a 25 percent stake in the joint venture, while the other 75 percent is held by UzAvtosanoat.
GM Uzbekistan employs 6,600 people and produces more than 200,000 Chevrolet passenger vehicles yearly for domestic sale and export to neighboring markets such as Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Vehicles built at GM Uzbekistan include the Chevrolet Captiva SUV and Spark mini-car. GM and UzAvtosanoat established a second joint venture to manufacture engines, GM Powertrain Uzbekistan, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. GM has a 52 percent stake and UzAvtosanoat a 48 percent stake in that venture.
The new facility has already begun pilot production and begins commercial production next month.
It has an annual capacity of more than 200,000 engines, which will power vehicles sold in Uzbekistan and other markets. The joint venture will create 1,000 jobs. It is the first powertrain plant built in Uzbekistan.
www.politico.com of 10/18/2011|
Asked earlier this month by CBN's David Brody how he would deal with "gotcha" questions, like who's the president of Uzbekistan, Herman Cain
dismissed the issue as unimportant - but Uzbekistan is actually important to American economic and political interests abroad.
"When they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I'm going
to say, 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?' Cain said, dismissing as irrelevant "knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world."
He could have found a less relevant country. As Joshua Foust writes
from neighboring Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. relationship with Uzbekistan is an important part of a strategy for a region that includes Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And Carolyn Lamm, head of the American Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, blasted Cain's comments.
"Anyone who's going to lead our country needs to know about our important foreign relationships," she said.
"U.S. business in Uzbekistan is very important, some of our top companies are doing excellent business there, including Boeing and Case New Holland," Lamm said. "It does enhance jobs in the United States. So it's incorrect to think that it doesn't, and really a conversation with any of our members would probably tell you in great detail why that is and how that is."
Wrote Foust, "Cain is correct to be dismissive of the petty "gotcha" questions reporters will ask him. I wouldn't blame him for not knowing the current President of Chechnya like Candidate Bush 11 years ago. But if Cain is to argue that some countries aren't important to America - a sensible thing - he should at least figure out which countries are important. Uzbekistan is surely one of them."
We also reached out to the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington for comment, but they appear not to be answering the phones there this week.
New countries may join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) next year. The United States has begun talks on possible cooperation with the SCO and Turkey has filed a formal bid for a dialogue partner status in what analysts say is a sign of recognition of the organization's role and influence in world affairs.
Since 2001 when the Shanghai "five", as the SCO was initially dubbed after its foundation in 1996, was joined by Uzbekistan, and to this day the SCO has remained a six-member regional alliance of countries sharing a common border. Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan committed to building their partnerships within the SCO framework on the basis of trust, mutual benefit and equality, as well as to bolstering regional stability and security, combating terrorism, drug trafficking and extremism, and advancing economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.
Several counties have been granted an observer or a partner dialogue status in the SCO. These are India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Belarus and Sri Lanka.
Yevgeny Voiko, a senior analyst with the Center for Political Conjuncture, comments on Turkey's bid.
"Turkey has been playing a more noticeable and more active role in the Middle East and the Caucasus lately, thanks to Prime Minister Erdogan's efforts. Turkey's accession to the SCO would raise the organization's prestige and boost its military and economic influence."
The SCO Charter stipulates that a dialogue partner status can be granted to a country that shares the goals and principles of the SCO and wants to establish relations based on equal and mutually profitable partnership. A dialogue partner has limited access to SCO documents, but Turkey can hope to obtain full-blooded membership in the future.
The United States too has been showing keen interest in potential cooperation with the SCO as it becomes increasingly aware of its weight in regional security. The latter fact could have also influenced Turkey's decision, says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Politics magazine.
"Awareness of the importance of the SCO has prompted the United States to consider participation in this alliance in some form or another, at least as an observer as there are different points of view with some favoring closer relations with the SCO and others saying that the SCO is a regional organization and therefore there is no point in the U.S. joining it."
Unlike Turkey, the United States may find it hard to receive a dialogue partner status also because relations between Washington and some SCO member states are hardly positive.
Ex-Soviet nations sign free-trade deal
www.ap.org of 10/21/2011
Russia, Ukraine and six other former Soviet republics signed a free-trade agreement Tuesday that will scrap export and import duties on some goods.
The deal was announced after talks in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city.
Three more ex-Soviet nations - Uzbekistan and oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan - did not sign the agreement but said they would consider doing so before the end of the year.
The free-trade deal was signed at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose group of 11 nations formed shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin did not identify the goods that will be freed of export and import duties, but said the agreement will lower prices for those goods, creating better conditions for businesses among the nations and "making our economies more competitive."
Putin also insisted that the trade deal does not clash with the commitments that Russia needs to undertake in order to join the World Trade Organization, an international trade body that Russia has been trying to get into for nearly two decades.
The agreement would come into effect next year provided that it is ratified by the parliaments of the eight countries.
Besides Russia and Ukraine the six other signatory nations were Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.
Ukraine is significant because it had resisted Moscow's invitation to join it in a Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union.
Ukraine has said its membership in the union would clash with its aspirations for closer trade links with the EU. But Ukraine's European ambitions suffered a blow Tuesday when Brussels postponed a Ukraine summit over the recent guilty verdict against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a trial that some observers described as politically motivated.
The American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce
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