Monthly Meeting on May 24, 2018
May’s second monthly meeting focused around H.E. Pamela Spratlen, and her departure from her post as Ambassador of the United States of America in Uzbekistan. All members of the American Chamber of Commerce were invited to the event, as well as representatives from several embassies. These included the Ambassador of Hungary, Switzerland, the EU, as well as members of the Latvian and French embassies. In addition, several non-member companies, such as Microsoft, Mars and Artishok, also attended the Monthly Meeting. The event began with a short introductory speech by Hugo Minderhould, President of AmCham, during which he commended Mrs. Spratlen for having greatly improved diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and the United States. The US Ambassador then gave an eloquent speech that focused mainly on the current political and economic situation in the country. She made it clear that both sides were ready and willing to make progress, and that many progressive regulations were being promised by the Uzbek government. However, wanting to stay realistic with her expectations, she stressed that in order for desired changes to take place, both ...
Monthly Meeting on May 10, 2018
May’s monthly meeting was dedicated towards discussing up-and-coming investment opportunities across Uzbekistan. The American Chamber of Commerce invited all of its members, including honorary spekers, Mr. Alisher Tilyaev - Deputy Mayor of Tashkent, as well as Mr. Rustamkhon Azizov – Head of the Department of Investments, Innovations, Development of Tourism, and Assistance to Privatized Enterprises. Together, they explained which sectors of Uzbek economy were developing and which ones would be the most interesting for future investors. In the past two decades of Uzbekistan’s existence as an independent country, it was always unfavorable for foreign businesses to establish a presence here. The reason for this was the unfair conversion rate, which gave companies miserly amounts of dollars for the Uzbek soums that were received from profit. As a result, foreign businesses were constantly fighting an uphill battle to make profit, and investors who had not yet put their money into Uzbekistan were understandably discouraged to do so. Fortunately, thanks to the currency law reforms, which were passed in September of 2018 by Uzbekistan’s new Pres...
Monthly Meeting on January 25, 2018
The January monthly meeting was dedicated to issues surrounding Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). USAID International Expert Mr. Jovan Jekic provided an overview of the process, as well as potential implications for an Uzbekistan with WTO membership. The history of WTO, basic principles, rules, and the accession experience of other WTO member countries was described in detail by Mr. Jekic in his speech. As a member driven organization, WTO members must closely examine trade regimes to ensure full compliance, as partial compliance is not acceptable. Only when all member countries are happy with candidate country results are they finally invited to become a member. While it may be easy to talk about, compliance is much more complicated in practice. The time and effort required to make the legislation of the candidate country compliant with WTO rules, especially when it comes to import tariff duties, is extensive. The voice of each country, regardless of international economic standing, is taken in equal consideration for any decision or dispute regarding another WTO member. One of the Mr. Jekic’s fa...
Monthly Meeting on January 18, 2018
The AmCham monthly meeting for January 2018 featured guest speaker, Chairman of the Senate Committee on International Relations, Foreign Economic Relations, and Investments and Tourism, Mr Alisher Kurmanov. The meeting was very well attended, with 100 members and guests, including ambassadors of France, Bangladesh, UK, Ukraine, Slovak Republic and Hungary. Of particular interest were remarks about Uzbekistan’s development from Mr Kurmanov, such a prominent and highly respected statesman. “We have to be really fruitful, not shiny only outside and poor inside” – Senator Kurmanov remarked at the beginning of his speech. He characterized the past year as practice for getting rid of stereotypes and perceptions formed during previous decades. Corruption, for example, is one of the most serious barriers for the nation across all spheres of life which was tolerated in the past in accordance with our mentality. Today the mentality of our people must change to zero tolerance for corruption. One proposed way which was proposed to fight corruption is through the introduction of online procurement mechanisms. The issues of public private ...
Monthly Meeting on December 7, 2017
Laziz Kudratov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan on investments addressed AmCham members at the December monthly meeting. In his speech, Mr. Kudratov presented to members and guests the main reasons why investors should choose Uzbekistan for investment. The President’s strategic priorities, which are included in “Action strategy 2017-202” and directed at improving the investment climate and attraction of foreign direct investment, are real steps which are already taken and will continue to be taken in the near future to raise the competitiveness of Uzbekistan as a destination to invest on the global stage. Plenty of positive changes are have recently taken place in Uzbekistan, one of which is liberalization of currency regulations effective September 2017. Previously, exporters were required to sell 25% of hard currency revenue to the government, but now the revenue earned fully belongs to the exporters. Restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that companies and individuals could buy were abolished. Mr. Kudratov also spoke about tax incentives, the creation of 14 free economic zones, improvemen...
Monthly Meeting on November 10, 2017
Chief of International Monetary Fund mission to Uzbekistan Albert Jaeger graciously accepted AmCham invitation to be an honorary speaker on the monthly meeting which was specially organized during IMF mission visit to Tashkent on November 7–16 in order to discuss the authorities’ plans to continue reforms of the economy and to update the macroeconomic framework. In accordance with Article IV of the IMF Agreement, representatives of the IMF regularly visit the Republic of Uzbekistan to hold consultations within the government and the Central Bank., Unification of exchange rates and liberalization of the foreign exchange market launched on 5th of September is one of the merits of Uzbek Government and IMF collaboration. This change simultaneously attracted the attention of the global community. The prospects for economic growth of Uzbekistan «as a whole remain favorable», but, as experience of other countries in transition testify, there are certain risks that could affect economic growth at this stage of economic transformations, Albert Jaeger noted. The next reform steps should aim at improving the investment climate and protecting the ...
Monthly Meeting on October 26, 2017
The October monthly meeting of AmCham Uzbekistan featured honorary speaker, Mr. Islom Jasimov, First Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Uzbekistan (CCIU). Mr. Islom Jasimov’s began his speech by discussing the dynamic development of Uzbek-American relations, and the results of the American-Uzbek business forum which took place in September 2017, and was attended by the President of Uzbekistan Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev. On this threshold of a new era of American-Uzbek relations, US$ 2.6 billion worth contracts were signed during the Forum. In the second part of his speech, Mr. Islom Jasimov acquainted AmCham members and guests with activities and changes which are taking place within CCIU. Among the new and highly-sought after activities is the legal support and protection of business people in the courts. After restructuring, the Chamber was granted authority to revise all drafts of legal acts related to business issues. The drafts are now under expert review of special councils established in accordance within the spheres the legal acts cover. The members of the councils are entrepreneurs, which have business within U...
Monthly Meeting on February 16, 2017
The February monthly meeting of AmCham in Uzbekistan featured honorary speaker, Mr. Alisher Shaykhov, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Uzbekistan. Tõnu Grünberg, Vice President of AmCham Uzbekistan in his opening remarks expressed one of the main AmCham’s goals for 2017 which responds to positive reforms taking place in Uzbekistan - “building a dialog with the government on the new, more efficient level”. Mr. Shaykhov in his one and half hours speech covered all principal directions of Uzbek government in which structural reforms are anticipated. Conversion, customs regulations, labor, logistic, banking system, and other issues covering investment climate and private sector development were explicitly discussed during the Monthly meeting. Developments in tourism, energy, especially alternative sources, IT and industrial were mentioned as well. “Ambitions of Uzbekistan are high, much higher than in China”, - Mr. Shaykhov told in his speech, - “For example in the close future we will establish our own “Silicon Valley”. During a question and answer session among other questions further cooperation between AmCham and CCIU ...
Monthly Meeting on January 25, 2017
His Excellency Ambassador Eduards Stiprais, Head of the EU Delegation to Uzbekistan, was the honorary speaker at the January Monthly Meeting. The event was opened by AmCham Vice President, Tõnu Grünberg. In his opening remarks, Mr Grünberg looks forward to what promises to be a very successful year for AmCham, highlighting AmCham members, and the challenges and opportunities currently taking place in Uzbekistan. As the honorary speaker, the Head of the EU Delegation covered various issues of bilateral trade and investment relations between the EU and Uzbekistan. Bilateral trade between the EU and Uzbekistan reached EUR 1,793 million in 2015. Imports from EU Member States were worth EUR 1,546 mln, while exports to these countries totaled EUR 246 million. Ambassador Stiprais also spoke of the EU's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which grants developing countries non-reciprocal access to the European market. The GSP ensures that Uzbek exporters pay lower or no duties on some or all of the products they sell to the EU. Both sides admit that current levels of trade are unsatisfactory, but that efforts such as trade stimulation and...
Monthly Meeting on November 24, 2016
His Excellency Neithart Höfer-Wissing, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Uzbekistan was the honorary speaker at the November Monthly Meeting. Introductory remarks were made by Hugo Minderhoud, AmCham Treasurer, member of the Board of Directors, and Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Kingdom of Belgium. His Excellency Neithart Höfer-Wissing, gave an extensive review of the business climate and economic situation in Germany, as well as an overview of present ties and options for the future development of bilateral cooperation between Uzbekistan and Germany. The question “Why do business with Germany?” was thoroughly covered. Germany is the fourth largest economy, third largest exporter, and third largest importer in the world. Germany is also Europe’s largest market with 21% of EU GDP. The main reasons for Germany’s economic successes are its the large number of small and medium sized enterprises, as well as extensive investment in research and development (ranked 4th worldwide), which annually contributes 80 bln Euros. The secured investment environment is supported...