(Photos of the event. Courtesy of the US Commercial Service in Hartford, CT. Not for redistribution)
On January 10, 2013, Uzbek Ambassador to the USA Ilhom Nematov traveled to Hartford, CT, to make a presentation on commercial opportunities in the Uzbek market before more than 20 businessmen, representing the chemical, oil and gas, financial, food processing, postal, defense and other sectors. Organized by AUCC jointly with the US Commercial Service and hosted by the office of McCarter & English, the event was the first of its kind in this Northeastern state and served as a platform for launching a series of the AUCC 20th Anniversary celebratory events which will be held later this year.
Highlighting Uzbekistan's strength as a country of significant natural resources, advantageous geopolitical location and highly-skilled and culturally diverse local population, Ambassador Nematov drew a particular attention to the country's fast and smooth transition from being a predominantly agrarian country with a high concentration on the cotton-processing industry to an industrial power with established automobile, oil and gas, chemical, tourism, food processing and other industries. According to the Ambassador, "...Uzbekistan's export potential has served as a magnet for foreign investors which prompted the government to establish two free-trade economic zones, Navoi and Angren, that facilitate transportation access to its immediate and near-neighboring countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and others." Uzbekistan also created certain tax and procedural incentives that give preferential treatment to businesses with foreign investments and simplify registration procedures for small businesses in order to strengthen Uzbekistan's competitiveness vis-à-vis other countries in the region.
The Uzbek Ambassador noted of the increased relations between the people of the US and Uzbekistan in 2012 and cited visits by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a Congressional delegation led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) as some of the best examples of the on-going cooperation with the US executive and legislative offices. In addition, Uzbekistan is closely located to Afghanistan and that makes the relationships with the US of critical importance.
Participating companies' representatives expressed their interest in the market and asked questions about Uzbekistan's transportation networks and costs of bringing their equipment into the country. The top Uzbek envoy encouraged the participants to visit Uzbekistan to enjoy the people's hospitality and generosity and have a firsthand experience in assessing the country's business potential and opportunities for doing business there.
As a top business group advocating for increased trade and investment relations between the US and Uzbekistan, AUCC will continue to organize similar events throughout the US in 2013 to advance the US commercial presence in the market and expand the chamber's membership. AUCC would like to make a special acknowledgement of the excellent work of the meeting's co-organizers, the US Commercial Service and the office of McCarter & English.
Established in 1993, the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC) is a Washington, DC-based business association of US corporations with operations in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Among its members are The Boeing Company, Case New Holland, FMN Logistics, General Electric, General Motors, Harris Corporation, Honeywell, Indsur Stelcor Inc., Lockheed Martin, McLarty Associates, Merck, Nukem, Inc., Rio Tinto, Sikorsky Aircraft, Solar Turbines, White and Case and Zeppelin International AG. For more information about the chamber, its 20th Anniversary events to be held in 2013 and the chamber's membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.aucconline.com.