By Abdul Kerimkhanov
For many centuries, the peoples of Uzbekistan and China have been linked by multifaceted relations of friendship and mutual respect. The two nations' cultural interaction began at the time of the Great Silk Road.
In recent years, within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, there has been an active dynamic in the bilateral cooperation between Uzbekistan and China, said the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to China Bakhtiyor Saidov.
On the eve of the 2nd High Level Forum on International Cooperation opening within the framework of Belt and Road, Saidov gave an exclusive interview to Chinese media.
He noted that positive dynamics of interaction between Uzbekistan and China within the Belt and Road initiative is observed both in the field of trade and the economy and in the sphere of investments.
According to the data published on the website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, the trade turnover between the two countries reached $6.4 billion in 2018, which is an increase of 35 percent. China remains Uzbekistan’s largest trading partner.
Saidov said that today more than 1,000 Chinese companies present in Uzbek market and operate in various sectors of economy.
As ambassador informed, during the Uzbek President's visit to China in the framework of the Qingdao SCO Summit in 2018, as many as 46 investment projects worth $6.86 billion were signed. Of these, $3.11 billion is a direct investment. Moreover, the volume of direct investment by Chinese companies in Uzbekistan exceeded $500 million in 2018.
The diplomat pointed out the importance of developing direct dialogue between the business circles of the two countries and strengthening interregional cooperation. He considers that 2018 was a breakthrough in terms of developing cooperation between Uzbek and Chinese regions.
Saidov added that leaders of 11 Uzbek regions visited large and industrially developed Chinese provinces in 2018, during which fruitful negotiations were held. He added that parties signed trade, economic and investment agreements in the amount of more than $3 billion.
Ambassador considers joint projects in the sphere of high technologies and innovations are becoming priorities along with the specified directions.
He also noted that the creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt, the overland part of the Belt and Road, integrated industrial technoparks, research and innovation clusters and free economic zones should be a common task.
Saidov further said that the Action Strategy for the five priority areas of development of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 has many points of intersection with the Belt and Road initiative.
He stressed that presence of a firm mutual interest of China and Uzbekistan to cooperate in the Belt and Road initiative format is the main condition for the successful interaction of the two countries.
Diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and China were established on January 2, 1992. The trade turnover between the two countries totalled $6.43 billion in 2018. Of this amount, $2.87 billion was Uzbek exports, while $3.56 billion was imports from China.
Last year, Uzbekistan acquired special construction equipment worth $2.1 billion from China.
Today, over 1,100 enterprises with Chinese capital are registered in Uzbekistan.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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