By Kamila Aliyeva
The European Union (EU) intends to support a number of projects and initiatives of Uzbekistan, Uzbek media outlets reported referring to the results of the meeting of the Subcommittee on Economy, Trade and Investments “Uzbekistan-EU” held in Brussels.
The EU expressed its readiness to assist Uzbekistan in increasing the export of agricultural products to EU member states by developing a certification system for food products in accordance with the requirements of the EU food safety legislation.
According to European experts, the establishment of a system for quality control and food safety in Uzbekistan, which will be recognized in the EU, will open wide opportunities for the export of Uzbek food products to the European market.
During the meeting, the EU representatives also expressed their readiness to consider providing technical assistance in the ratification and effective implementation of the remaining two international conventions necessary for Uzbekistan to receive unilateral tariff preferences for the EU under the Generalized System of Preferences. The GSP allows developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, thus providing them with vital access to the EU market.
In addition, Europeans are ready to provide technical assistance to bring national legislation and practices in line with WTO norms. During the last trip to South Korea, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced the resumption of work on Uzbekistan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Several countries have already offered their assistance in this process.
At the same time, the meeting noted the possibility of applying the EU experience in sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, support measures in agriculture, intellectual property rights and others in Uzbekistan.
“The EU representatives expressed their readiness to support the efforts of the Uzbek government to promote the peace process in Afghanistan, expand trade, economic and transport-transit cooperation with the country. The readiness to intensify the work of the International Trade Center that implements the EU project “Development of Afghan trade” was noted,” according to the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Trade.
Representatives of the EU also expressed their intention to develop an updated EU Strategy for Central Asia, taking into account the interests of Uzbekistan in the sphere of economic transformation and strengthening regional cooperation in Central Asia.
The EU assistance program for Uzbekistan covers 2014-2020 and has a total budget of 168 million euros, of which more than 46 million euros are being allocated at the moment. Of these, 20 million euros were allocated for the “Sustainable Water Management” project, 21.5 million euros – for the “Development of the fruit and vegetable sector” project, and 5 million euros - for the “Modernization of the cotton sector” project.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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