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Uzbekistan not ready to establish free trade zone within SCO – Uzbek deputy PM

Uzbekistan not ready to establish free trade zone within SCO – Uzbek deputy PM

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Date: 17 December 2015 11:12

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dec. 17

By Demir Azizov– Trend:

Uzbekistan is not ready to consider proposals to establish a free trade zone within the framework of the SCO, First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov said, the Uzbek Jahon news agency at the Uzbek Foreign Ministry reported.

He made the remarks at the meeting of Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States held in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou.

The Republic of Uzbekistan, which currently is chairing the SCO, intends to strictly adhere to and abide by the principles of continuity and consistent development of multifaceted collaboration that meets the interests of all Member States of the Organization, Azimov said.

He said that together, member states of the Organization continue their work to maintain stability in the region, ensuring sustainable economic development, the expansion of cooperation in trade, investment, humanitarian, transport and communications spheres.

“In this regard, the Uzbek side attaches great importance to strict observance of the principle of consensus in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has been enshrined by the wise decision of the heads of our states in the creation of the SCO,” said the first deputy prime minister.

“This year, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov approved the "Program of further reform, structural transformation and diversification of the economy in 2015-2019", consisting of seven strategic programs, which lay a solid foundation for sustainable economic development of Uzbekistan in the coming years,” he said.

As part of the reform program, Uzbekistan over the next five years provides for the implementation of more than 900 investment projects on creation of new high-tech industries and a radical modernization of existing enterprises of petrochemical, chemical, electric power, engineering, automotive, electrical, textile, pharmaceutical and other industries, as well as more than 300 projects for the construction and reconstruction of engineering communications and road infrastructure, totaling more than $60 billion.

In the difficult situation that has emerged today in the global economy, the task of further cooperation on the implementation of coherent and mutually beneficial projects in the fields of economy, investment and transport communications is especially relevant for the sustainable socio-economic development of the SCO member states, achievement of practical results, Azimov said.

“We stand for further development of trade-economic ties, expanding mutual deliveries of industrial products, which is demanded in the SCO markets, forming a favorable environment to promote mutual trade and other activities in this area,” said the deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan.

In this regard, Uzbekistan attaches great importance to the effective implementation of the "Program of cooperation between the customs services of the SCO member states for 2016-2021" and looks forward to a radical development of investment cooperation between the SCO countries, which have a huge potential in this area that is mastered to a small extent.

“We consider development of transport communications, radical expansion of the huge transit potential of the countries of our region as strategic direction of our cooperation,” Azimov said.

In this context, importance is given to the use of the full capacity of the Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association.

In order to achieve real results for all the abovementioned directions, Uzbekistan considers important to develop and to adopt specific activities and "road maps" on ensuring the implementation of the "Strategy of development of the SCO until 2025", as well as in the framework of processed new List of measures for the further development of project activities of SCO until 2021.

“Speaking about the prospects of expanding the format of cooperation within our organization, Uzbekistan reaffirms support for accession of India and Pakistan to the SCO as full members,” he said. “We also support more active economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with observer countries and partners, consolidation of cooperation and involvement of their huge economic potential in the sphere of joint activity within the SCO framework.”

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established in 2001. It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. The SCO includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was previously announced that a meeting of heads of SCO member-states was held in Ufa (Russia) in July 2015. A decision was made to increase the number of its participants. The documents on admitting India and Pakistan were signed. Belarus became an observer. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal became the dialogue partners.

Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia are the SCO observer-countries, while Turkey, Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

The Executive Committee is based in Tashkent.

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