By Kamila Aliyeva
The volume of the Tajik-Uzbek trade turnover in the first quarter of this year has almost doubled compared to the same period last year, clearly showing that agreements reached during the first state visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Dushanbe are not an empty phrase.
The volume of trade between the two Central Asian neighbors in the first quarter of this year amounted to $ 41.5 million, which is 1.8 times more than in the January-March 2017, according to statistical data of the Tajik Economy Ministry.
Cement and quartz sand, which is used as the main element for glass production, are also included in the list of exported goods.
Tajikistan’s State Committee for Investments and State Property Management said earlier that the list of exported goods to Uzbekistan will be expanded, according to the documents signed following the forum of business circles of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan held on March 9 in Dushanbe.
Agreements on the export and import of goods have been signed between the economic entities of the two countries. In particular, the export of Tajik electricity to the neighboring country and the import of Uzbek gas will be launched.
In addition, the list of exported Tajik goods includes cables, carpet products, building materials, coal and others. At the same time, Uzbek enterprises will begin to supply vehicles and spare parts for them, agricultural products and so on to Tajikistan.
Earlier, it was reported that this year Tajikistan plans to export electricity to Uzbekistan in the amount of 1.5 billion kWh.
Meanwhile, during the first Tajik-Uzbek business council on subjects of small private business held on March 8, contracts worth $20.5 million were signed, according to the chairman of the Uzbek Chamber of Commerce and Industry Adham Ikramov.
Since the moment of independence, the relations between the two neighbors were not easy. The disputes between the two countries have arisen regularly for almost 25 years.
Dushanbe often accused Uzbekistan of blocking railroads and roads. In turn, Tashkent opposed the construction of the Rogun HPP in Tajikistan, which, according to the authorities of Uzbekistan, is a threat to the entire agricultural sector of the region. In 2001, first, Uzbekistan, and then Tajikistan, introduced a visa regime between the two states.
The relations began to restore in 2016 after Shavkat Mirziyoyev took the presidential office in December. Since then, the activation of bilateral contacts on various levels have begun, the air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent has been resumed, ten checkpoints on the border have been reopened, several meetings of the commission for border delimitation and demarcation have been held. In addition, residents of the border areas of the two countries can visit each other for up to 5 days without obtaining visas and telegrams.
The legal base of bilateral Tajik-Uzbek relations includes about 111 contracts and agreements signed at the interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental levels in the period from 1992 to the present.
The trade turnover between the two states increased by 20 percent and totaled $240 million in 2017. Currently, the countries plan to increase the volume of bilateral trade up to $ 1 billion in the near future.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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