The realization of joint projects was critically examined, and new points of growth of cooperation were identified.
China and South Korea are strategic partners for Uzbekistan. During high-level visits, numerous agreements were reached and “roadmaps” were adopted eventually to provide for the execution of projects in the trade, economic, investment, humanitarian and other spheres.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has proved an unexpected trial for the global economy. Lockdown restrictions led to a reduction in foreign trade relations, transport links and delays in the fulfillment of investment projects.
On October 6, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev talked over the phone with President Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea. The sides agreed to speed up joint programs and projects, assist in their execution and, if necessary, attract soft loans. The two leaders intend to hold online talks by the end of the year.
Interaction with China is also developing dynamically. Preparations are underway for the forthcoming state visit of PRC President Xi Jinping to our country.
For 8 months of this year, the volume of trade turnover between Uzbekistan and China reached $ 4 billion, with South Korea it amounted to $ 1.4 billion.
The President noted the availability of enormous potential for building up cooperation with these countries, stressing the lack of noticeable results. Shavkat Mirziyoyev pointed to failures in the enforcement of roadmaps and the shortage of systemic work in this direction.
This year, export indicators have went down in some areas. In particular, over the past eight months, supplies to China decreased by 42.3 percent in the textile sector, by 33.1 percent in the chemical and petrochemical industry, and by 18.1 percent in agriculture.
During the same period, passiveness was registered in Surkhandarya, Bukhara and Kashkadarya regions in terms of exports to South Korea.
The heads of regions and industries, it was noted at the meeting, are still not aware of the importance of exports, their style of work in this area hardly meets today’s requirements.
“Each leader must constantly work on these issues, develop effective proposals to increase the competitiveness of products, reduce their cost and take them to foreign markets,” the President insisted.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed the need to effectively cash in such favorable factors as the open economic policy of China and the advantageous geographical position of our country, to organize the exports of goods with higher added value to the South Korean market by air transport.
Beijing and Seoul are also major investors in our economy. In particular, over the past three years, $ 3.9 billion of investments came from the PRC and $ 850 million from the Republic of Korea.
However, the realization of some investment projects lags behind schedules.
The meeting participants critically analyzed the work in the context of industries and regions. For projects that are behind timetable or have been suspended, acceleration or resumption measures have been identified. The Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade was instructed to generate new projects aimed at attracting direct investments from China and South Korea.
The progress of projects in transport and communications, healthcare, cultural and humanitarian areas was also discussed in detail.
The President urged the officials to prompt full-scale cooperation with the PRC and the Republic of Korea, find new areas of interaction, elaborate joint projects and ensure oversight of their realization.
“Times change, so do requirements. We have been analyzing the state of affairs across industries. Decisions are made on their streamlining. And the results should correspond with our efforts. Economic sustainability is guaranteed by growth in export and investment indicators,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev underscored.
At the videoconference meeting, Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers, hokims and Uzbekistan’s ambassadors to foreign nations reported on measures to cut delays in the implementation of export and investment projects.
Responsible executives were given directives to critically review all investment programs, work out updated roadmaps for accelerated, high-quality and timely realization of joint schemes, and develop new promising projects for the next year.