Russia, Uzbekistan Increasing Bilateral Trade Ties As Precursor To An EAEU Free Trade Agreement

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Following meetings held in Moscow between the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments Sardor Umurzakov,  the Uzbek Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade has stated that Russia and Uzbekistan intend to accelerate their implementation of bilateral agreements and will develop new areas of investment cooperation in such industries as metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and the chemical industry.

It was agreed that they will speed up the consideration of projects under development, as well as develop and approve individual roadmaps for their high-quality and timely implementation, including specific mechanisms and deadlines for their implementation.

During the meeting, a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the investment, industrial, trade and economic spheres was discussed. Special attention was paid to the issues of interaction in the pharmaceutical industry. An agreement was reached to intensify joint work in this direction with the involvement of relevant ministries and scientific and medical centers of the two countries.

Further steps have been outlined to deepen cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan, including developing a mutual partnership in investment, trade, and the economy.

During 2022, business and trade missions between the regional leaders of all 14 regions of Uzbekistan and the 42 constitutional entities of Russia will be held to develop proposals for the implementation of new investment projects and trade agreements.

Current Russia-Uzbekistan bilateral trade is running at about US$6 billion, with Russian exports making up about 2/3 of this. Russia exports lumber, oil, and metals, while Uzbekistan exports gas, ethylene and cotton. Bilateral trade has been growing at rates of 6% but this can be expected to increase.

The longer-term vision is for Uzbekistan to join as a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan currently has observer status, and no trade agreements with the bloc per se, although it is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The EAEU is currently holding free trade negotiations with multiple countries in Asia and joining it would allow Uzbekistan access to these.

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