On May 4 this year, the 7th meeting of the Uzbek-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation (IGC) was held in Tashkent under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó.
The meeting was attended by the heads of key ministries, agencies, industry associations, commercial banks and educational institutions, as well as diplomatic missions of the two countries.
During the meeting, issues of further development of cooperation in investment, industrial, trade and economic, banking and financial, cultural and humanitarian areas were considered and agreed upon.
During their speeches, the heads of delegations of the two countries noted the regular and systematic nature of bilateral interdepartmental contacts at the level of leaders and experts, as well as the constant focus of the two states on the progressive expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation in areas of common interest. A significant impetus to the development of Uzbek-Hungarian relations was given largely thanks to the efforts and will of the Heads of the two states. Mutual readiness to strengthen partnership in the fields of investment, trade, tourism, financial and technical, cultural and humanitarian and interregional cooperation was expressed.
It was noted that over the past 4 years, the volume of Uzbek-Hungarian trade increased 3 times and showed growth even in 2020-2021, despite the negative consequences of the pandemic. Significant potential for diversification of markets and trade flows, as well as increasing mutual supplies of chemical, food, machine-building, pharmaceutical and textile industries was noted. In this context, the parties welcomed the approval and signing of a Joint Action Plan between the Hungarian Export Promotion Agency and the Export Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the IGC, stressing that this step will give a significant impetus to the further expansion of mutual trade.
Special emphasis was placed on joint actions to develop industrial cooperation between entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan and Hungary. The prerequisites for this are the growing interest of Hungarian business in expanding its activities in Uzbekistan and the significant industrial potential of a number of sectors of the Uzbek economy, including the information and communication sector, electronics, biotechnology, construction materials production, mechanical engineering, chemical and textile industry. The heads of the relevant sectoral agencies of the two countries made specific project proposals, outlining vectors for further deepening practical cooperation within each direction. Preliminary agreements were reached on the implementation of joint investment projects aimed at creating high–tech industries with the aim of setting up production of with high added value products and, in the future, exporting them to third-country markets.
In this context, the parties spoke in favor of intensifying joint work to bring the business communities of the two countries closer together and agreed to hold a regular meeting of the Uzbek-Hungarian Business Council and a business forum with the participation of Uzbek and Hungarian entrepreneurs this year.
An agreement was also reached on the development and approval of a joint Industrial Cooperation Program for 2022-2023 with the inclusion of promising projects in priority sectors in the near future.
Further steps to promote the activities of the launched Uzbek-Hungarian Startup Program for financing joint investment projects were discussed. It is worth noting that as of now, the implementation of 9 joint projects has already started. The parties considered issues related to their practical implementation and outlined directions for the development and selection of new project initiatives.
Special attention was paid to the development of interregional cooperation. The meeting participants discussed concrete steps to intensify practical cooperation at the regional level within the framework of the Interregional Cooperation Agreement signed last year. An agreement was reached on the establishment of permanent working groups under the leadership of the deputy heads of the regional administrations of the Tashkent, Navoi and Jizzakh regions of Uzbekistan and Pest, Veszprém and Fejér regions of Hungary, respectively, as well as the development of step-by-step interregional cooperation programs, including mutual exhibitions, business forums and trade missions. It was agreed to hold a joint Forum of Regions in Uzbekistan in the second half of this year with the participation of representatives of the business circles of the two countries.
A number of agreements were also reached in the cultural, humanitarian and tourism areas: holding Days of Cinema and Culture of Uzbekistan and Hungary in the second half of this year, allocation of additional quotas for Uzbek students for studying in Hungarian universities within the framework of the scholarship program of the Hungarian government “Stipendium Hungaricum”, accelerated launch of activities in Tashkent branch of the University of Debrecen, development of joint educational programs with the involvement of leading Uzbek and Hungarian educational institutions, as well as holding a joint another Forum of Rectors of Universities of Uzbekistan and Hungary. The parties particularly noted the signing of an Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Tourism on the sidelines of the IGC, designed to create favorable conditions for increasing mutual tourist flows.
Following the meeting, the final protocol was signed, reflecting all the agreements reached, as well as the joint projects and initiatives.
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