On December 23 this year, as part of the visit of the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Uzbek-Saudi business forum was held at the Hilton Tashkent City hotel, organized by the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It was attended by the Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Jamshid Khodjaev, the Minister of Investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih, heads of ministries, departments and over 100 leading companies of both countries.
At the opening ceremony of the Forum, the heads of delegations stressed that the visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, to Saudi Arabia in August this year served as a powerful impetus for the comprehensive deepening of relations between Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, demonstrating positive development dynamics in recent years.
Thus, in particular, the volume of mutual trade between the two countries in January-November this year increased by nine times compared to last year.
Positive growth dynamics are also observed in investment cooperation – over the past few years, the number of companies with Saudi capital in Uzbekistan has increased by five times. Together with Saudi companies, projects worth more than $17 billion are being implemented in the energy, petrochemistry, healthcare, infrastructure development, pharmaceuticals and agriculture sectors.
A firm commitment was emphasized to continue reforms in Uzbekistan aimed at reducing the state’s share in the economy and privatizing state-owned enterprises, transforming banks, creating an efficient stock market, and implementing projects in priority sectors on the principles of public-private partnership.
Opening opportunities were announced for expanding the volume and geography of foreign trade, including through the effective use of free access to regional markets and EU markets based on GSP + preferences, diversification of trade routes by promoting large-scale regional transport projects and the country’s desire to join WTO.
“Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia have rich natural resources and huge industrial potential. We can create joint ventures in both Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia aimed at the production of high-value-added products with further export to regional and European markets, as well as to the countries of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area with a total population of more than 1.4 billion potential consumers,” Jamshid Khodjaev noted in his speech.
In turn, the Saudi side appreciated the pace and effectiveness of the socio-economic reforms in Uzbekistan and the opportunities for a breakthrough expansion of bilateral investment and trade and economic cooperation. The Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia expressed his commitment to implementing practical measures to strengthen investment and trade ties between the two countries and called on Saudi entrepreneurs to conclude mutually beneficial contracts and agreements.
Promising areas for investment cooperation have been identified – oil and gas and petrochemical industries, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, food, textile, leather and footwear industries, sericulture, infrastructure construction and tourism. And the mutual interest of business circles in building ties and working together was revealed during the B2B and G2B negotiations, where entrepreneurs and investors could identify common interests, discuss new mutually beneficial initiatives, and achieve firm cooperation agreements.
As a result of the forum, a solid package of documents was signed in priority sectors, the implementation of which will significantly expand the scale of multifaceted cooperation between Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, create new jobs and bring interaction between the business circles of the two countries to a higher level.
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