Address by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the Third Tashkent International Investment Forum

Dear participants of the forum!

Ladies and gentlemen!

At the outset, let me sincerely welcome you at the third Tashkent International Investment Forum.

I would like to note with pleasure that within the framework of this format, which is becoming a great annual tradition, new and reliable partners from all continents of the world are gathering in our country.

Over the past three years, this Forum has provided a broad platform for enhancing collaboration, discussing pressing issues, and generating fruitful ideas and solutions to tackle the most urgent challenges.

The fact that more than two and a half thousand foreign guests from 93 countries are attending the event today clearly confirms the growing importance of the Forum. This is a sign of a huge interest in reforms that have become irreversible in our country, in establishing mutually beneficial cooperation.

Dear forum participants!

Our conference is taking place in period of increasing global geopolitical and economic problems, challenges and threats to the sustainable development. The world order is undergoing deep transformation.

Disruptions of supply chains of goods and services, decrease in international trade and investment flows, an exacerbation of climate disasters clearly demonstrate how unstable the situation is becoming.

The growth rates of the world economy have been declining for the past three years. The trends related to the foreign direct investments are not meeting expectations either. In 2023, the total volume of investments in developing countries decreased by 9%.

Of course, we understand perfectly well that today there is an unparalleled struggle for investors in the world. However, one immutable fact is becoming ever more clear: no country can solve such problems alone. The spirit of mutual trust and respect, and the principle of mutual support remain solid pillars of long-term cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen!

In our country, we have taken decisive steps to fundamentally improve the investment and business environment, and to eliminate obstacles step by step. In this regard, we are implementing comprehensive reforms to ensure that every entrepreneur feels free and confident.

You may well know that seven years ago we embarked on uneasy, but systemic reforms with big aims. We have identified the liberalization of the economy, the creation of a favorable investment climate, and the broadening of opportunities for entrepreneurs as our main objectives.

In recent years, our economy has nearly doubled. Last year alone, growth rates reached 6 percent, while inflation remained below 9 percent. The trade turnover is steadily increasing. The stability of the national currency and foreign exchange reserves are being maintained.

In the past few years, we have attracted over 60 billion dollars in foreign investments. More than 14 billion dollars from international financial institutions have been directed to social and infrastructure projects. The volume of foreign investments nearly doubled last year.

Notable increases are clear in the fields of energy with companies like “Acwa Power,” “Masdar,” “Total Eren,” “Voltalia,” “Calik,” and “Aksa”; in the chemical industry with “Air Products,” “Indorama,” and “Kamse”; in construction and metallurgy with “Orano” and “Danieli”; in automotive and electrical engineering with “BYD,” “KIA,” and “Samsung”; and in construction with “Koch” and “Knauf” along with other leading global companies. Together, we have initiated over 300 investment and industrial projects, and created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, which I highlight with great gratitude.

Today, during this forum, we will launch new large-scale projects with world-renowned companies, such as “Linde,” “Orascom,” “DataVolt,” “Bonafarm,” “Pasha Holding” and others. I express my deep and sincere gratitude to foreign investors and all our partners who contribute to this work.

We have developed specific measures in other priority areas to support entrepreneurship and business. Foreign investors will be exempted from taxes on dividends received from shares for a period of three years.

We have adopted a law on privatization. A new program was adopted, which includes the sale of state shares in 250 major companies, the privatization of 1,000 real estates and listing via IPO the shares of 12 companies.

We have established a stability rating for entrepreneurs. High-rated entrepreneurial subjects will not undergo tax audits.

We have streamlined the implementation of public-private partnership projects in energy sector and plan to expand this experience to other social and infrastructure sectors as well.

Particularly, irrigation and road projects with the Chinese companies “CITIC” and “Camce,” drinking water supply projects with French companies “Suez” and “Veolia,” and the establishment of modern medical facilities with the Arab companies “InterHealth” and “Pure Health” are in progress.

We attach great importance to the development of the infrastructure of industrial zones through budgetary allocations.

We have introduced modern transparent mechanisms for allocating land to entrepreneurs, namely through auctions.

In order to improve legislation and join the World Trade Organization, we have adopted more than 60 regulatory documents. An agency to combat corruption has been established, and the National Strategy for 2030 is being developed. Last year, we held in Tashkent international events on combating corruption.

The Tashkent International Arbitration Centre has been successfully operating with the aim of fairly resolving disputes. It includes more than 90 reputable arbitrators from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, China, and the United Arab Emirates.

Another important indicator for investors: over the past seven years the enrollment rate in higher education has increased from 9 percent to 42 percent, and the number of higher education institutions has reached 200.

A visa-free travel regime has been introduced for more than 90 countries.

Dear forum participants!

Our main goal is to make Uzbekistan a reliable and long-term partner for foreign investors.

Our country is committed to developing market economy, ensuring reliable protection of investors’ rights, further improving the favorable investment and business environment, creating more comfortable conditions for fair competition, ensuring the protection of private property and
the independence of the judicial system. We have firmly enshrined these initiatives in the new Constitution adopted by the referendum last year.

In order to strengthen the protection of investors’ rights, I would like to present a number of specific proposals today.

Firstly, we will adopt the new Law “On Investments.” This document has been developed in accordance with the regulations and standards of the World Trade Organization. I would like to express special gratitude to the EBRD, World Bank, IMF, and OECD for their close cooperation in this.

Secondly, the International Commercial Court will start operating in the near future under the auspices of the Center for the Development of Digital Technologies. This court will have a special place in Uzbekistan’s legal system. Therefore, we will adopt special legislation in the near future. We will also include standards for the execution of decisions of international commercial courts in procedural codes.

Thirdly, we will soon introduce significant changes in the system of industrial zones. More favorable conditions will be created for investors to implement high-tech projects.

The activities of operators in managing industrial zones, especially attracting highly qualified foreign companies, will be expanded. The restrictions for the operation of special economic zones will also be eliminated. The term for leasing the land to foreign investors will be doubled (from 25 to 49 years). The benefits and preferences guaranteed by law will fully remain. All of these issues will be discussed in detail at the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Investors Council.

Dear participants!

We have adopted “Uzbekistan-2030” strategy in order to continue systemic reforms, build strong and welfare state.

In this important document we have outlined 100 specific tasks to achieve sustainable economic growth, provide social protection, preserve health, improve education system, as well as to ensure the rule of law.

By 2030, our goal is to double the people’s income and join the ranks of the upper-middle income countries. We will continue with deep transformation processes in the economy, creating favorable investment and business environments, and increasing value-added production in industry.

In this regard, we are keen to pursue comprehensive cooperation in Strategic Directions to enhance mutual benefits.

Firstly. “Green” energy. Expanding the energy sector is crucial for the prosperity of our entire region. In this regard, work is underway on 28 projects in our country. By 2030, we aim to create renewable energy capacity exceeding 20 gigawatts and increase its share in the energy balance to 40 percent.

Last year alone, we launched large wind and solar power plants with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts in partnership with our strategic partners “MASDAR”, “GEZHOUBA”, and “CHINA ENERGY”. Additionally, we initiated a project to produce “green hydrogen” with “ACWA POWER.”

The most notable aspect is that these significant projects are being implemented based on public-private partnership and directly through foreign investments.

Today, during the Forum, we are presenting joint projects to build hydroelectric power stations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for our investors. We invite the leading companies from all countries to open dialogue and practical cooperation in this direction.

Secondly. Banking sector. In recent years, numerous private banks have been established in our country. Leading European banks have entered our market. Several digital banks are now operational.

During this Forum the agreement was signed with the EBRD
to privatize one of Uzbekistan’s leading banks, “Asakabank”. Similarly, the transformation and privatization processes of our leading banks continue in cooperation with the IMF, ADB and other major international financial institutions.

The approaches to the development of the capital market are being reviewed to meet the demand for financial resources.

Work is underway to modernize international financial instruments in Uzbekistan. We eagerly anticipate increased foreign investments, improvement of corporate governance, and the entry of new financial institutions into the country.

Thirdly. Critical minerals. Uzbekistan is rich in mineral resources and critical raw materials. Our country has large reserves of gold, copper, tungsten, silver, and uranium.

We are particularly interested in paying attention to the reserves of rare and rare-earth metals, including lithium, magnesium, molybdenum, germanium, vanadium, and indium, among others.

Last month, strategic cooperation in critical minerals was established with the European Union. We are also actively working with the United States and the United Kingdom to sign documents in this area.

A new Law on Subsoil will be adopted. It will be based on modern international practice. We express our gratitude to the EBRD for its assistance in this matter.

We invite the leading companies to Uzbekistan to implement projects on deep processing of strategic raw materials and creating high value-added chains.

Fourthly. Digital transformation of the country. The export of IT services and software products has doubled within a year. We aim to increase this indicator to $5 billion in the future. The number of IT park residents will increase tenfold, 100,000 new jobs will be created soon.

Moreover, on IT park basis the Center for the Development of Digital Technologies is being created for foreign companies. In collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s “Data Volt” we are working on establishing Data Centre that works on “green” energy. This will significantly contribute to the digitalization of our economy and the introduction of technologies based on artificial intelligence.

Fifthly. Development of transport infrastructure. We pay special attention to creating convenient and modern transport systems.

Substantial reforms are being made in the railway sector with opening wide opportunities for private investors. The joint projects are being developed to build toll roads and high-speed railways.

Efforts are being made to modernize Tashkent, Bukhara and Urgench international airports, and build new ones with the participation of qualified foreign investors.

We have started initial work on the construction of railways China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan with our foreign partners. These strategic projects will fundamentally change the geo-economy of the region and will transform Central Asia into the global transit center that connects North and South, East and West.

We invite investors and international organizations to participate in these major regional projects to revive the Great Silk Road on modern foundations.

Dear friends!

The New Uzbekistan is a rapidly developing, just and secular country with vast opportunities. Our hardworking and talented people are the main source of inspiration for us to pursue every day our ideas and dreams.

It is important to emphasize that the investors gathered here today with their most innovative technologies and practices, new proposals and initiatives stimulate us to move forward.

Here what I want to stress: all members of our team will stand shoulder to shoulder to you to help the implementation of every your initiative, every your project. Would you support this?!

Investments are the engine of our country’s transformation and the strongest driver of our economic development.

I am confident that today’s International Investment Forum and its fruitful discussions will lead our practical cooperation to a completely new, even higher level, in terms of quality and content.

Once again, I express my sincere gratitude to all of you for participating in our conference.

Thank you for your attention.

Published On: May 6, 2024Views: 100