On April 24th-28th, the 6th International Investment Financial Forum took place in Tashkent. As part of the forum the 6th International Conference on Insurance and Reinsurance and the 2nd International Conference on Banking, Leasing and Portfolio Investments were held.
Over 600 representatives of domestic and foreign insurance companies, leasing, accounting and investment companies, banks, and rating agencies, from 40 countries, participated in the forum.
Besides issues related to the investment and financial sector, the social and economic development of Uzbekistan in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical, energy, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology and telecommunications, metallurgy and mining, producing construction materials, textiles , leather and food, the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries, portfolio investment and tourism, were considered at the forum.
As Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov stated at the government meeting on the results of 2012 and the priority areas of the country's development for 2013, $11.7 billion of domestic and foreign investment were raised in 2012, which is 14 percent more than in 2011.
Additionally, about 10 legislative acts were passed to create a favorable investment climate and to improve the business environment, including Presidential Decrees on the comprehensive reduction of statistical, financial and tax reporting, licensable types of activity, as well as further improvement of the business environment and providing greater freedom of entrepreneurship.
Increased tax benefits are now provided for investors and exporters.
Unprecedented conditions are now provided for the development of industries in the free industrial economic zone Navoi, the special industrial zone Angren, and the newly created special industrial zone Jizak.
Measures taken to improve the investment climate have generated a significant increase in the amount of foreign direct investment. The annual growth rate in the volume of foreign investment is more than 20%.
Minister of Economy Galina Saidova in her speech at the forum said: "Uzbekistan is among only five countries which during the past five years have shown high rates of economic growth, about 8% a year on the average. The program for industrial development is being implemented, which includes more than 500 large scale investment projects worth nearly $50 billion. In addition, Uzbekistan is characterized by macroeconomic stability: the country has a budget surplus, а surplus of foreign trade balance and a surplus of payment balance. The foreign debt of Uzbekistan in recent years ranges from 11% to 16%, which is one of the lowest in the world according to international standards. Uzbekistan's domestic debt is equal to zero."
Structural reforms in the economy are impossible without a radical improvement of the entire infrastructure of the country. As it was stated at the forum, Uzbekistan has been gradually implementing the program of constructing the national highways, which includes 2,300 km of roads.
Great importance is attached to the development and modernization of the railway industry. Today more than 1,000 km of railways are under rehabilitation and over 80 km of new railway lines are under construction.
It was decided that a new railway will be built that will link the center of Uzbekistan and the Fergana valley. The Angren-Pap railway is in the design stage with an estimated cost of about $2 billion.
According to Kazem Kakher, a regional manager of General Motors in Uzbekistan: "Active work of numerous joint ventures in Uzbekistan, established together with U.S. partners, in particular GM Power Train Uzbekistan JV for engine manufacturing, is a vivid example of the consistent development of bilateral relations. It is facilitated by the favorable investment environment in Uzbekistan and broad benefits and preferences provided for foreign investors."
Elyor Ganiev, the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan, emphasized the high interest of foreign partners in the development of relations with Uzbekistan and their readiness to establish mutually beneficial investment cooperation. "The opportunities for expanding investment cooperation with Uzbekistan are unlimited," he said.