American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce
BUSINESS NEWSLETTER
  
Week in Review:

May 17, 2013 - May 24, 2013
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2013 Marks AUCC 20th Anniversary

Since 1993 the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront of advancing trade and business relations between the US and the Republic of Uzbekistan. AUCC prides itself in catering to the needs of our members, providing them with a platform to interact with policy makers in the US and the Republic of Uzbekistan and ensuring that bilateral commercial relations continue to be on the governments' top agenda.   

 

For the last twenty years AUCC has been a vigorous advocate of the views of the business community to ensure that private sector positions are considered during the development of policies that impact American businesses and the future of U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.    

 

We are delighted that today AUCC is a well-known organization that is recognized for its strength and ability to work closely with a great number of partner organizations. AUCC enjoys excellent working relations with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C., the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Uzbek ministries, associations and organizations as well as the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. AUCC also coordinates its efforts with a great number of international financial institutions, business councils and other professional organizations.

If your company is interested in joining AUCC, please contact our office at 202-509-3744 or [email protected]  We invite you to be part of our organization and participate in our activities and events.   

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In This Issue:
AUCC IN BRIEF
Uzbekistan courts foreign investment
ADB provides loan for US$220m to Uzbekistan
Review of Iran's trade with Central Asia
Central Asian Cross-border Trade to Get Boost from New Road
American Authors Build Literary Connections in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

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.

http://centralasiaonline.com 

 

Uzbekistan has laid out the welcome mat for foreign investment.

As part of the Year of Prosperity, which 2013 was proclaimed last December, Uzbekistan is seeking to accelerate economic growth by attracting foreign investment. Since May 9, it has been airing a 35-second video titled "Welcome to Uzbekistan" on euronews and other international TV channels. The ad describes Uzbek economic potential, tourism and investments.

"Uzbekistan has created and continues to create flexible conditions for foreign investors," Rasulzoda D., an Economic Ministry spokesman, said. "We have incentive to ensure that an entrepreneur coming here remains content and stays here for a long time."

Uzbekistan also plans to promote itself at several international investment forums and to invite groups of foreign business leaders to visit and discuss investment conditions with potential investors, he said.

Benefits of foreign investment

Business investment usually leads to related improvements, mainly by creating jobs but also by helping the country manage energy resources.

For example, in February a representative from a South Korean company was in Uzbekistan to discuss the creation of some textile factories in Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan Today reported.

Although the scope of the Young One Corporation's investment has not been determined, new factories are likely to bring in job opportunities for Uzbeks.

A Singaporean company also made inroads into Uzbekistan in 2011, with a pledge to support the Indorama Kokand Textile mill in Tashkent. The parent company, Indorama Industry, has built a modern facility, complete with its own energy unit, and should be producing at full capacity by the end of this year, UzDaily.com has reported.

Uzbekistan also has partnered with South Korea's Kogas for the Ustyurt Gas Chemical Plant, which will produce 4.5 billion cu. metres of natural gas annually.

Much-improved business climate

The World Bank study Doing Business 2013 lists Uzbekistan as one of 10 countries whose regulatory climate for business improved the most in the past year.

"Uzbekistan is quite convenient for foreign capital," economist Said Formonov said. "It doesn't put any obstacles in [investors'] path, help is always available ... and officials at all levels always are ... ready to answer foreign entrepreneurs' questions. Furthermore, Uzbekistan's economy is quite stable."

However, Firuza Jakhonova, a Tashkent marketing specialist, disagreed with Formonov. On the whole, Uzbekistan's business climate still needs improvement, she said. "Foreigners still find obtaining an Uzbek entry visa quite difficult," she said. "Even our own businesses have ... problems with ceaseless inspections. ... Uzbekistan still has to fix many details before we can invite foreign capital to invest here."

If the authorities find that inspectors broke the law while checking a business, they investigate, Rasulzoda D. said. Acquiring a visa isn't difficult, he said, adding that foreign investment boosts the economy by creating new jobs. "Our aim, of course, is to see that Uzbeks rather than [foreign] specialists take those jobs, though we realise it's not possible to do without them altogether."

Another factor requiring government attention is the need to steer investment to the provinces, not just to Tashkent, Formonov said. "Why? Because we already have quite a few foreign investors in the capital, but there are few in the regions. Unemployment is always higher in the provinces ... new investments could help create jobs there."

http://www.uzdaily.com  

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented a loan for US$220 million to Uzbekistan for construction of the part of national highway in Namangan region.

The ADB loans will be used to reconstruction of roan Pungan-Namangan with extension of 75 km. The road is a part of Tashkent-Osh highway (A-373).

Within the project, it is planned to upgrade the existing two-lane section to a four-lane section with an international design.

The ADB allocated loan of Uzbekistan for 25 years with five year grace period. Uzbekistan will also direct US$45 million to project implementation.

The loan was issued within the multitranche financing programme CAREC Corridor 2 Road Investment Program II worth US$500 million. Within the multitranche financing programme, the ADB allocated US$500 million in September 2011.

The Government of Uzbekistan attracted US$1.1 billion loan of the ADB to construction of national highway. The funds were used to reconstruct Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beinau (A-380) and Tashkent-Andijan (A373) roads with the extension of 450 km.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented a loan for US$220 million to Uzbekistan for construction of the part of national highway in Namangan region.

The ADB loans will be used to reconstruction of roan Pungan-Namangan with extension of 75 km. The road is a part of Tashkent-Osh highway (A-373).

Within the project, it is planned to upgrade the existing two-lane section to a four-lane section with an international design.

The ADB allocated loan of Uzbekistan for 25 years with five year grace period. Uzbekistan will also direct US$45 million to project implementation.

The loan was issued within the multitranche financing programme CAREC Corridor 2 Road Investment Program II worth US$500 million. Within the multitranche financing programme, the ADB allocated US$500 million in September 2011.

The Government of Uzbekistan attracted US$1.1 billion loan of the ADB to construction of national highway. The funds were used to reconstruct Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beinau (A-380) and Tashkent-Andijan (A373) roads with the extension of 450 km.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented a loan for US$220 million to Uzbekistan for construction of the part of national highway in Namangan region.

The ADB loans will be used to reconstruction of roan Pungan-Namangan with extension of 75 km. The road is a part of Tashkent-Osh highway (A-373).

Within the project, it is planned to upgrade the existing two-lane section to a four-lane section with an international design.

The ADB allocated loan of Uzbekistan for 25 years with five year grace period. Uzbekistan will also direct US$45 million to project implementation.

The loan was issued within the multitranche financing programme CAREC Corridor 2 Road Investment Program II worth US$500 million. Within the multitranche financing programme, the ADB allocated US$500 million in September 2011.

The Government of Uzbekistan attracted US$1.1 billion loan of the ADB to construction of national highway. The funds were used to reconstruct Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beinau (A-380) and Tashkent-Andijan (A373) roads with the extension of 450 km.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented a loan for US$220 million to Uzbekistan for construction of the part of national highway in Namangan region.

The ADB loans will be used to reconstruction of roan Pungan-Namangan with extension of 75 km. The road is a part of Tashkent-Osh highway (A-373).

Within the project, it is planned to upgrade the existing two-lane section to a four-lane section with an international design.

The ADB allocated loan of Uzbekistan for 25 years with five year grace period. Uzbekistan will also direct US$45 million to project implementation.

The loan was issued within the multitranche financing programme CAREC Corridor 2 Road Investment Program II worth US$500 million. Within the multitranche financing programme, the ADB allocated US$500 million in September 2011.

The Government of Uzbekistan attracted US$1.1 billion loan of the ADB to construction of national highway. The funds were used to reconstruct Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beinau (A-380) and Tashkent-Andijan (A373) roads with the extension of 450 km.

- See more at: http://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-23258.htm#sthash.oc4E50mT.dpuf

http://en.trend.az  

 

Iran's exports to Central Asian countries increased during the country's first month of the new calendar started on March 2013, compared to the similar period last year (1391).

However Iran's Custom Administration's latest published statistics show export values in first moth of Iranian year decreased significantly compared to the previous month (February 20 to March 20).

Iran exported $84,544,979worth of non-oil goods to these countries during Mar 20-Apr 20, 2013, indicating a 9.2 per cent increase compared to the same period in the last solar year and a 57 per cent decrease compared to the previous month in the Iran calendar.

Iran's non-oil exports table to five Central Asia countries, based on USD:

Country

Mar 20-Apr 20

2013

Mar 20-Apr 20

2012

Feb 20 to Mar 20, 2013

last solar year (1391)

Two years ago

(1390)

Turkmenistan

54,246,605

46,900,047

82,372,549

749,114,979

532,502,290

Tajikistan

16,338,693

20,745,356

30,286,997

263,079,257

194,964,008

Kazakhstan

8,512,360

5,473,819

20,421,068

135,245,216

84,519,403

Uzbekistan

3,534,334

3,476,269

8,513,915

91,725,193

76,309,424

Kyrgyzstan

1,912,987

1,417,722

4,985,738

43,259,593

40,101,798

Total

84,544,979

78,013,213

146,580,267

1,282,424,238

928,396,923

The figures indicate around a 7.3 per cent increase in Iran's total non-oil exports to Central Asia during the last solar year, compared to the previous one.

Iran's non-oil imports table to five Central Asia countries, based on the USD:

Country

Mar 20-Apr 20

2013

Mar 20-Apr 20

2012

Feb 20 to Mar 20, 2013

last solar year (1391)

Two years ago

(1390)

Turkmenistan

12,459,428

2,483,620

14,925,334

110,952,913

136,358,158

Tajikistan*

4,778,497

-

3,491,948

35,045,883

-

Kazakhstan

1,386,406

22,659,574

11,208,101

186,479,922

135,723,231

Uzbekistan

4,778,497

12,442,647

9,571,120

169,027,267

137,873,799

Kyrgyzstan*

412,759

-

697,338

5,730,734

-

Total

23,815,587


39,893,841

507,236,719


Iran imported $23.8 million worth non-oil goods from Central Asia during the first month of the Iranian calendar year indicating a 56 per cent drop in value compared to average monthly imports from these countries during the last solar year.

Iran's imports from Central Asia decreased by 60 per cent in the first Iranian month compared to the previous one.

Iran has a gas deal with Turkmenistan as well. Iran imported about 4.5 bmc of gas from Turkmenistan during last solar year while this figure was about 12 bcm in the previous Iranian year.

Iran's total non-oil exports and imports during fist month of current solar year were respectively $2.497 and $2.037 billion. Total export and import statistics indicates respectively 11.1 percent and 38.99 percent decreases compared to same period in last solar year.

Iran exported $41.453 billion non-oil goods and imported $53,348 billion worth non-oil goods during last solar years.

http://www.adb.org 

 

The 180-kilometer (km) road that runs from Rasht Center to Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, is part of a greater road corridor that connects Dushanbe with the Kyrgyz Republic border and beyond, providing vital trade links for this landlocked nation.

It is also providing local opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Rasht Valley, which borders the Kyrgyz Republic. One of them is 53-year-old taxi driver Saidmukhsin Saadiev, who drives passengers from Rasht Center to the capital every day.

"It takes about 3 hours now to reach Dushanbe," he says. "I can easily make a round trip in a day ... You can't imagine how difficult it was to travel before. People used to spend over 10 hours to get to the capital."

"You can't imagine how difficult it was to travel before. People used to spend over 10 hours to get to the capital."

- Saidmukhsin Saadiev, 53, taxi driver

People used to spend even longer - 13 hours as recently as 2007 - traveling from the capital to the border with the Kyrgyz Republic - a journey that had been reduced to 8 hours by 2012, partly clearing the path to increased international trade.

Saadiev describes the old road as "bumpy and unpaved," making a circle with his hands to show how big the potholes were. "Cars constantly broke down, and drivers and passengers wasted lots of time and money."

Entrepreneurial obstacles of that kind are now simply memories.

Boosting Travel, Trade

ADB approved its first assistance to repair the 340-km Dushanbe-Kyrgyz border road in late 2003, and since then it has provided a total of over $118 million in concessional loans and grants in Tajikistan to improve the road.

As of early 2013, the work on the road was almost completed, with the exception of an approximately 13-km section.

By December 2012, domestic traffic on the road had increased to an annualized daily average of 2,378 vehicles, from 250 in 2006.

Muhtor Negmatov, director of the project team in the Ministry of Transport, admits that road safety is still an issue, largely due to the fact that better road conditions mean more people use the road and drive faster, coupled with a low awareness of traffic safety among rural communities. But he says the overall situation has improved vastly.

"The number of accidents on the road decreased almost eight-fold since 2006," he says.

According to Farrukh Nuriddinov, ADB project officer, road safety continues to be addressed through cooperation with the government.

Increased traffic volume, while critical for economic development and trade, also necessitates investments in road maintenance, adds Nuriddinov.

"Regular road maintenance and controlling overloaded vehicles are key to maximize the sustainability of the project," he says. "ADB supports the government in piloting a performance-based road maintenance scheme and installing vehicle weighing systems."

Connecting Villages, Countries

The project has rehabilitated not only the road to the capital but also rural roads in the Rasht and Nurobod Districts, making it easier for farmers to access markets and other social services. Production of vegetables, fruits, and livestock has increased, and some villagers have reported a 30% increase in their income. They attribute their improved earnings partly to the better road conditions.

"I no longer have to repair the chassis after every trip. I spend less on fuel, and can make trips more often."

- Esanali Urumbaev, 49, truck owner

As one of Central Asia's most significant trade routes - and the most direct link from the PRC to Central and South Asia - the Dushanbe - Kyrgyz border road is boosting trade and cooperation in the region. The road falls under Corridor 3 of the six priority corridors identified under the Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC).

Traffic surveys indicate an increase of international freight traffic to 76 trucks per day in December 2012 from about 10 trucks per day in 2006. That is expected to rise to 177 trucks per day by 2015.

"The improved road is a major contribution to the economic development of the region by enhancing regional cooperation and improving competitiveness of the countries," said C.C. Yu. ADB country director for Tajikistan. "ADB is currently reviewing the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy and will continue to invest in improving the regional connectivity."

The numbers may still be small for the moment, but the impact for those involved is significant.

"For the past several months, I've traveled on this road every week, bringing onions and coal from Osh to Tajikistan," says Esanali Urumbaev, 49, a truck-owner from Alay District, Kyrgyz Republic.

"I no longer have to repair the chassis after every trip. I spend less on fuel, and can make trips more often," he says, adding he is grateful for the changed conditions on the road.

"The improved road is helping my life and my business," says Esanali.

http://iwp.uiowa.edu 

 

May 17-26, 2013, four American authors are traveling to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to give public readings, visit literary institutions, and connect with writers, journalists, students, and other creative types as part of a reading tour organized by the University of Iowa's International Writing Program (IWP). The tour aims to foster greater understanding and stronger creative ties with the Central Asian nations in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State.

REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN LITERARY SCENE

The American writers participating in the tour include bestselling novelist Ann Hood, whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages, acclaimed memoirist and poet Stephen Kuusisto, Nigerian-American fiction writer Chinelo Okparanta, recently short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing, whose book Happiness, Like Water was one of The Huffington Post's picks for best books of 2013, and poet and non-fiction writer
Christopher Merrill, who directs the IWP. In addition to introducing readers in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the current American literary scene, the tour introduces American writers to the literary landscape-and current affairs-of the region.Kuusisto, who is blind, is blogging about the trip at:

http://www.planet-of-the-blind.com/. Hood is also chronicling her experience on the trip at: http://www.annhood.us/ 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Despite air travel to some locations being limited to one flight per week, the American writers are venturing outside the capitals of Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) to visit cultural sites and meet with literary personalities few Americans have encountered. Although geographically remote, Uzbekistan, one of two "doubly landlocked" countries in the world (a landlocked country surrounded entirely by other landlocked countries-the other one is Liechtenstein) has sent four writers to participate in the IWP's fall residency program since 2004. The most recent is poet, translator, and journalist Alina Dadaeva who spent ten weeks in the United States as an IWP resident in 2012.

Unlike its smaller neighbor, Turkmenistan (which is slightly larger than California, but 80% desert) has never sent a writer to the IWP. Fewer than 7,000 tourists visit Turkmenistan each year, making it among the least visited countries in the world (Afghanistan and North Korea host more). American writers traveling to the region is one way to encourage greater interaction and foster literary relationships with Turkmen and Uzbek writers, making it an ideal destination for an IWP reading tour. Every spring, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the IWP organizes reading tours to introduce American writers to a country or region with a relatively sparse history of literary liaisons with the United States,

"The aim of these reading tours is two-fold" says IWP director Christopher Merrill. "We want American writers to discover the culture and literature of these countries, and to encourage interaction and collaboration. Of course, IWP would love to host a Turkmen writer as part of the fall residency in the future," Merrill adds.


CONTACT INFORMATION:aucc logo
The American-Uzbekistan
Chamber of Commerce
 
1300 I Street, N.W.,
Suite 720W
 
Washington, DC 20005
 
phone: 202.509.3744
 
[email protected]

www.aucconline.com