American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce
BUSINESS NEWSLETTER
  
Week in Review:
 
August 22, 2014 - August 29, 2014
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2014 Opens a New Era for the Chamber
  

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.  While 2013 concluded our celebrations for the 20th anniversary it also opened a new era for the chamber and our members.

 

We are delighted that today AUCC continues to be 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.

 

We thank you all for your support and engagement and look forward to another year of progress and business successes.  

 

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
George Krol: Uzbekistan has accomplished much during the years of independence
Uzbekistan launches project on sustainable land management
Uzbek customs office to introduce "one stop" information system
ADB Proposed Project: #48025-002: CAREC Corridors 2 and 3 (Marakand-Bukhara) Railway Electrification

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.

Uzbekistan National News Agency  

 

August 25, 2014

 

United States was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. The legal basis of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States includes more than 50 documents, in particular, Declaration on principles of strategic partnership and cooperation, signed in 2002. Currently, bilateral relations are developing on the basis of norms and principles of the mentioned declaration in the spirit of equality, constructive cooperation and mutual respect of interests.

On the eve of the 23rd Anniversary of State Independence of Uzbekistan, UzA correspondent talked to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Uzbekistan George Krol.

 

- Uzbekistan has accomplished much during its relatively short 23 years of independence, - says George Krol. - In the midst of difficult external and internal circumstances Uzbekistan has established stable political and economic institutions and has maintained security for its people. Although blessed with natural resources, Uzbekistan benefits mostly from its human resources - its hard working population and from its rich cultural heritage that should foster a new generation proud of its past, but ready to meet the challenges of the future.

I know Uzbekistan is working hard to address social, political, and other challenges. The United States may be ten times older than Uzbekistan as an independent state, but we too continue to perfect our political and economic institutions, our educational system, and ensure our nation's security. The world is a challenging place today for both Uzbekistan and the United States. I am glad to say that since Uzbekistan became an independent state 23 years ago, the United States, which was one of the very first countries to recognize Uzbekistan's independence, will continue to be a reliable partner to Uzbekistan as together we face many of the same challenges.

- Please tell us about the current conditions and perspectives of trade, economic, investment, and cultural-humanitarian cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States.

- Uzbekistan and the United States have many shared ideals. We are committed to working together and deepen our relationship in all fields--from trade and regional security to economic development and cultural ties.

We encourage Uzbekistan to create and maintain all the necessary conditions for foreign investment. The best proof of the quality of our relationship is the investment of well-known U.S. companies here. The Coca-Cola Company as well as other American companies in Uzbekistan, such as General Motors and Boeing, continue to offer goods, services, and jobs to the people of Uzbekistan. As Uzbekistan's economy continues to grow and its trade and financial institutions meet international business standards, I trust that more Americans companies will choose to do business in Uzbekistan.

Earlier this year, we held the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Uzbekistan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation in furtherance of the 2010 U.S.-Uzbekistan Science and Technology Agreement. The goal of the Joint Committee Meeting was to define two-year action plans for cooperation in three mutually-identified areas: agriculture, renewable energy, and evidence-based medicine.

In the educational sphere, in response to Uzbekistan's priority to expand English language knowledge from the first grade on, the American Embassy has worked with its Uzbek partners on implementing advanced English language programs in the country. Currently, two American English language specialists are teaching at local universities and we are discussing the possibility of expanding this program to other fields with the Uzbek government. The Embassy's Educational Advising Center helps all interested people find appropriate institutions to study or carry out research in the U.S.

USAID finances programs to increase agricultural productivity, farmers' incomes, and strengthen businesses critical to the farm-to-market economic chain. We have facilitated a number of exchanges bringing farmers from Uzbekistan to the U.S. and U.S. specialists to Uzbekistan. We have also encouraged contacts between business people in Uzbekistan with counterparts in Afghanistan and the region to improve the business environment and promote more robust bilateral and regional trade.

In addition to visits by American artists, experts, writers and musicians, this year, through the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, we provided financial support to restore the "Painting of the Ambassadors" currently housed in the Afrosiyob Museum in Samarkand. It has become a tradition for the Embassy to bring cultural ambassadors to Uzbekistan on a regular basis. We are seeking to invite more American cultural envoys to Uzbekistan in the years to come to
unite the peoples of our countries through the universal language of culture.

- How do you assess the cooperation, exchange of experience, and the results of the dialogue between our countries in the fields of the development of the parliamentary, judicial, and legal systems?

- The cooperation between parliaments of Uzbekistan and the United States is developing consistently. Visits of parliamentary delegations are carried out regularly, creating a good opportunity to exchange experiences in the field of parliamentarism.

During their official visits to Uzbekistan, members of the U.S. congress and their staffs have expressed interest in deepening the dialogue among our legislators. We are actively supporting contacts in the area of judicial education, bringing American judges and legal practitioners to meet with their counterparts in Uzbekistan and inviting these counterparts to the United States. The United States and other foreign partners in Uzbekistan have also organized a series of public discussions on the interactions between the media and the judicial sector to promote long-term constructive dialogue about the role of the media in furthering justice sector reforms in Uzbekistan.

In 2013, an international conference "Development of parliamentarism: experience of Uzbekistan and the U.S." was held in Samarkand. The conference discussed the organization and fulfilment of control over implementation of legal documents by executive bodies, the exchange of experience in the field of cooperation between civil society institutions and mass media, as well as the perspectives of development of parliamentary relations. I hope there will be more visits of U.S. Congress members and Senators to your country, since such relationships will serve to strengthen mutual ties.

- Please tell us about the reforms and laws adopted in Uzbekistan on democratization, provision of election freedom, and the development of electoral legislation, based on the Concept of deepening democratic reforms and development of civil society, as elaborated by President Islom Karimov.

- As President Karimov stated, the reforms carried out in the field of democratization of state governance and management are directed to the one very important purpose, i.e. to consistently implement the constitutional principle of separation of power; to form an effective system of balance of interests and mutual restrain between powers; to improve the role of authorities of legislative body and representative powers, as well as controlling tasks; to liberalize the judiciary system and to take necessary measures to provide its independence.

We encourage Uzbekistan to take steps to register and support independent civil society organizations and provide its citizens with the opportunities, as guaranteed by Uzbekistan's constitution and its international commitments, to express themselves freely and practice other fundamental freedoms. The United States also welcomes and supports Uzbekistan's efforts to develop an "e- government system" to improve the quality of interactive public services offered to the people of Uzbekistan, especially to entrepreneurs.

Implementation of Uzbekistan's laws on government transparency, social partnership, and social oversight are key to the long term development of Uzbekistan as a democratic state committed to respecting universal rights.

- What do you think about Uzbekistan's initiatives and efforts to provide security and strengthen peace in the region?

- The U.S. shares Uzbekistan's priority policy of enhancing stability and promoting a secure and peaceful Central Asia. Together we work as partners to enhance regional stability, counterterrorism, counter narcotics, and nonproliferation efforts. The U.S. applauds Uzbekistan's bilateral contributions to help bring peace and economic stability to Afghanistan and we appreciate Uzbekistan's support of the transit of supplies through its territory to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

We were proud this year to sign the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, an initiative first proposed by President Karimov. We have broadened, deepened and accelerated our bilateral consultations on security related issues as befits two strategic partners.

The United States believes that constructive dialogue among the countries of Central Asia based on mutual respect and frank discussion especially on management of regional natural resources, which affect all countries in the region, will also assist in promoting regional stability and security. The U.S. supports all constructive efforts in that direction.

On behalf of the Embassy and the people of the United States, I would like to offer heartfelt congratulations and good wishes to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence. From the bottom of my heart, please accept my warmest greetings on this national holiday. I wish all the people of Uzbekistan peace, happiness, prosperity and good health.

Mustaqillik Bayramingiz Muborak Bo'lsin!

Trend  

 

August 24, 2014

 

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) launched a project "Reducing the burden on natural resources as a result of competing of exploitation of rain-fed dry lands in mountainous, semi-desert and desert landscapes of Uzbekistan", UNDP's Tashkent office told Trend.

The total area of Uzbekistan is 44.5 million hectares, of which 21.2 percent are mountains, 78.8 percent are plains made up mainly of desert and semi-desert areas. Reform of land use is mainly focused on irrigated agriculture which occupies about 10 percent of all territories.

Due to the dry climate Uzbekistan is very susceptible to environmental degradation. Arid lands in Uzbekistan face increasing degradation associated with competition in land use by forest farms and the vast pasture agriculture.

In this regard, it is necessary to decrease the level of intensive use of natural resources in rain-fed areas of the mountainous arid, semi-arid and arid regions of Uzbekistan through the implementation of integrated approaches to the management of rangelands and forests.

Within the framework of the project until August 2018 studies and introduction of better practices on sustainable pasture and forestry land management in the country, integrated planning of land use in the target areas of Uzbekistan are scheduled.

In addition, it is necessary to explore the potential of the country on systemic, institutional, and individual levels for the application of an integrated land management in arid mountain, steppe and desert regions of Uzbekistan.

The project worth more than $2.5 million worth is funded by the GEF - $2.314 million and UNDP - $200,000. The main partners in the project are the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Committee for the Academy of Sciences, and the local administration of a number of districts of the republic. The State Committee on Land Resources, Geodesy, Cartography and State Cadastre of the Republic of Uzbekistan is The National Executing Agency.

Trend  

 

August 26, 2014

 

Uzbekistan will in 2014-2016 realize a project to modernize the customs service via the introduction of a unified "one-stop" customs information system, State Customs Committee (SCC) of Uzbekistan told Trend Aug. 26.

According to a representative of the SCC, the project's main objectives are to develop and introduce a "one stop" system and its subsequent integration to a single portal of online government services.

The project will be implemented through a $5.5 million grant from South Korea.

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is the executive agency, which is responsible for the project's implementation.

On the Uzbek side the State Customs Committee will be acting as the executive agency.

As part of this project, the goods (works, services) imported or purchased with grant funds are exempt from customs duties, as well as the value-added tax (VAT), in accordance with the legislation in force.

Aside from that, as part of this project under the framework agreement, South Korean citizens are exempt from income tax for individuals.

It is also envisaged to exempt participants of the project - non-residents of Uzbekistan - from income tax for legal entities.

Asian Development Bank  

 

August 26, 2014

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Uzbekistan is doubly land-locked and highly dependent on land transport to support its domestic economy and external trade. Of the six Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridors, three corridors cross the territory of Uzbekistan. These corridors catalyze economic development in Uzbekistan and the region by improving national and regional connectivity. As a result, the country has the potential to become a key link in the growing trade between East Asia and Europe and to capture a significant volume of transit traffic. Development experience in the world has shown that freight traffic tends to grow at a higher rate than gross domestic product as a country is still moving up the economic chain. As the Uzbek and regional economies grow, the demand for freight transport will increase, posing higher capacity requirement for the country s road and railway systems. For moving commodities and goods in bulk, railway transport has a competitive advantage over road transport, and is environmentally more acceptable. Railways carried about 60 million tons of freight and 15 million passengers annually over past decade, and remain key to Uzbekistan s economy. Two CAREC Corridors Corridor 2 which links East Asia with the Mediterranean and Corridor 3a which links the Russian Federation with the Middle East pass through Tashkent, Samarkand, Marakand, Navoi, and Bukhara, before crossing over to Turkmenistan. With electrification of the line from Marakand to Bukhara, diesel locomotives will be replaced by more efficient electric traction on the entire route from Keles on the border with Kazakhstan to Bukhara. This will boost domestic and regional trade and connectivity, and cut transport costs. The state joint-stock company Uzbekistan Temir Yullari (UTY) is solely responsible for the management and operation of the nation-wide 4,669 km railway network (including 788-km electrified). The rail system, managed by UTY, needs modernization and reforms to mitigate institutional constraints which limit the sector s potential to provide efficient transport. ADB has provided support to the railway sector by providing two loans for rehabilitation and modernization of infrastructure, and a loan for electrification of railway line. Investments in system modernization and improvement, including electrification, will revitalize the railway system. Changeover from existing diesel traction to electric traction after railway electrification will increase hauling capacity on existing tracks, cut operating cost and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In the railway subsector, the Government has formulated the Railway Electrification Program up to 2020 and prioritized a three-part 5-year investment plan, which inter alia covers development of railway infrastructure, railway electrification, and modernization of rolling stock. These elements form the strategic framework for development of the railway subsector. The Government s request for assistance to electrify the Marakand-Bukhara railway line falls under this program. The project supports the Government s electrification program for efficient and environmentally friendly electrified rail transportation to meet increased trade flows and regional transit traffic. This is also consistent with the country s Welfare Improvement Strategy for 2013 2015 which emphasizes among others the continued modernization and development of transport infrastructure. The project fits with ADB s Strategy 2020, and is included in the Country Operations Business Plan (2014 -2016). It also aligns with the Uzbekistan Transport Sector Strategy (2006- 2020) and supports the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy 2020.

Impact

Stimulated economic growth and increased regional trade along CAREC Corridors

Project Outcome


 

Description of Outcome

Improved railway operation and logistics services on the Marakand-Bukhara railway line


 

Implementation Progress


 

Description of Project Outputs

Upgraded railway infrastructure along the Marakand-Bukhara line Strengthened UTY's institutional capacity


 

Safeguard Categories


 

Environment: B

Involuntary Resettlement: B

Indigenous Peoples: C


 

Stakeholder Participation and Consultation


 

During Project Design Meetings with relevant government agencies, NGOs and/or community-based organizations, and focus group consultations with local communities and/or affected people, supplemented by surveys, will be conducted.


 

During Project Implementation UTY, the consultants, and ADB will continue to conduct needed stakeholder consultations during project implementation.


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phone: 202.509.3744
 
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