By Kamila Aliyeva
A number of new measures, which will greatly simplify export-import operations, are introduced in Uzbekistan.
These measures are envisaged by the two new documents signed by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on November 3.
The documents are entitled as a decree "On measures for further liberalization of foreign trade activities and support of business entities" and a decree "On measures to streamline the licensing of exports and imports of specific goods, as well as registration of export and examination of import contracts."
The new decrees intend to eliminate the barriers that still exist in various departmental instructions and regulatory documents which impede the broad participation of entrepreneurs in foreign economic activity.
Starting from December 1, legal entities and individuals are allowed to export goods, works and services (except fresh fruit and vegetable products and certain types of raw materials) for foreign currency without prepayment, opening a letter of credit, issuing a bank guarantee and having a policy on insurance of an export contract against political and commercial risks.
To create favorable conditions for exporters, the document provides business entities with the right from December 1, to export goods (excluding specific goods), works and services without concluding an export contract, on invoices registered in the Unified System after 100 percent prepayment to accounts of exporters in banks of Uzbekistan.
At the same time, with regard to the export of fresh fruit and vegetables, grapes, melons, legumes, and dried vegetables and fruits, individual requirements are established in accordance with the law.
In addition, certain measures aimed to create favorable conditions for exporting enterprises, actively developing new ones, including promising foreign sales markets are introduced. In particular, the document unified the terms for the formation of overdue accounts receivable on foreign trade operations within 120 days from the date of export shipment for export and from the date of payment for import operations.
Meanwhile, valid terms of receipt of payment – 180 days – remain in place for the goods exported by Uzbek resident-founders to companies abroad and members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan to trade and investment houses of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as for the goods imported under contracts concluded in the framework of projects implemented in accordance with the decisions of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers.
Among other innovations is the use of a unified approach to take responsibility for allowing the formation of overdue receivables, both for exporters and importers, as well as to extend the receipt of proceeds in foreign currency for a period of duration of force majeure circumstances.
In addition, Mirziyoyev abolished the requirement to issue a permit by customs authorities to re-export goods under the regime of "temporary importation", as well as to compulsory submit import cargo customs declaration by importers in order to confirm the value of goods imported to the territory of the republic with the use of benefits.
Other good news for businessmen include the introduction of a mechanism from December 1 to reduce the amount of receivables under an export contract for the amount of insurance compensation received to the account of the exporter of goods, works and services.
In addition, the documents provide for the transfer of the licensing function from the Ministry of Foreign Trade to the Cabinet of Ministers from November 10 with a view to optimize export-import procedures and consolidate functions for issuing licenses for the export and import of specific goods.
At the same time, jewelry items, precious metal products, precious stones and products made of them are excluded from the list of licensed goods.
To exclude duplicate procedures, the decree provides for simplification and introduction of changes in the current procedure for examination of import contracts in the State Committee for Investments. In particular, the procedure is canceled for the examination of import contracts concluded with an amount of less than $100,000.
The examination of import contracts with the sum of more than $100,000 and concluded based on the results of tender is canceled, with the simultaneous introduction of the procedure for the examination of tender documents or the evaluation of tender proposals during the bidding period. At the same time, the registration of import contracts, concluded on the basis of the results of the tenders, will be carried out without conducting their additional expertise.
The foreign trade turnover of Uzbekistan in January-September 2017 amounted to more than $19.95 billion.
In 2016, the volume of foreign trade amounted to $5.4 billion and demonstrated a decrease by 1.4 percent compared with 2015. Agricultural and engineering products occupied the largest share in the structure of exports. Last year the volume of coal exports amounted to 29.2 percent, glass products to 27.4 percent, ores and precious metals to 45.4 percent in the total export structure.
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