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Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan aim at accelerating the development of interregional cooperation

On November 25-26 this year in Turkestan (Kazakhstan), a regular meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Bilateral Cooperation and the III Forum of Interregional Cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan were held.

The delegations of the two countries were headed by Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan A.Aripov and Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan A.Mamin. The events were also attended by heads of key ministries, agencies, sectoral associations and regional administrations of the two countries.

The Forum of Interregional Cooperation proved to be an effective interstate platform and an important institution of political and economic interaction between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.

During the event, the dynamics of bilateral relations, which have risen sharply in recent years due to close and trusting relations of the heads of the two states, were emphasized. It was announced that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan account for 70% of regional trade in Central Asia.

The main directions for the development of the bilateral partnership, in particular, the need to make efforts to bring bilateral trade to the target of $5 billion next year and up to $10 billion in the following years were considered. To this end, readiness to take joint measures to increase trade turnover and to remove existing non-tariff barriers was expressed. The particular relevance of joint work of customs authorities of the two countries on launching the Simplified Customs Corridor mechanism was noted.

Special attention was paid to the issue of further development of industrial cooperation. Promising directions in this area are automotive and light industry, mechanical engineering, production of construction materials and pharmaceuticals. In this context, the issues related to the implementation of the project on the creation of the International Center for Industrial Cooperation (ICIC) on the border territory of the two countries were considered.

The issues of deepening bilateral cooperation in transport and logistics were also touched upon. Construction of a new high-speed railroad along the Turkestan-Tashkent-Samarkand route and the Uchkuduk-2-Kyzylorda railroad line were identified as promising directions in this area. The Uzbek side expressed readiness to support Kazakhstan in joining the “Agroexpress” project launched between Uzbekistan and Russia for regular and rapid delivery of fresh agricultural products and other goods. The importance of bilateral measures to increase the capacity of checkpoints on the Uzbek-Kazakh border was emphasized.

The parties expressed a firm commitment of the governments of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. Mutual readiness to assist in establishing direct contacts between regional administrations and business communities of the two countries, development of joint industrial policy in the border areas of the two countries, formation of shorter, more sustainable production chains and creation of cluster productions linking entrepreneurs of the two countries, expansion of cross-border trade infrastructure was emphasized. Prospects for launching an Uzbek-Kazakh accelerator program to support the activities of exporters of the two countries were also discussed.

During the Forum, the heads of regional administrations of the two countries spoke about the current state of interregional partnership and put forward proposals for further development of cooperation. The agenda of interregional cooperation included environmental protection, combating desertification and joint water use along with economic partnership issues.

As a result of the Forum, an agreement was reached to intensify joint work to form a new package of investment and trade agreements with an emphasis on direct cooperation between the regions of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.