By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are showing mutual interest in the progressive development of bilateral relations in trade and economy, transport and communication, and other areas of mutual interest.
The creation of the Central Asia International Center for Trade and Economic Cooperation will lead to an increase in international trade, said Kairat Torebayev, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Kazakhstan Ministry of National Economy, Kazinform reported.
He reminded that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan signed a memorandum between authorized agencies on the establishment of the Central Asia International Center for Trade and Economic Cooperation on April 15 in Tashkent.
Torebayev noted that this memorandum provides for the creation of a joint Kazakh-Uzbek interdepartmental working group, which will develop a concept for the Center establishment.
The priority tasks include the creation of a new modern checkpoint; construction of wholesale and retail trade facilities and similar infrastructure; creation of a transport and logistics center.
The Center will be created on the Kazakh-Uzbek border, next to two large agglomerations - Shymkent and Tashkent.
Torebayev informed that preparatory stage of the Center creation will be carried out in 2019, while investment stage - in 2020-2023, as well as the development of infrastructure (2020-2023) and its prospective development (2023-2025). The main stage will begin in 2023.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the largest markets in Central Asia with the population of more than 50 million people. The Center location provides significant potential in the development of services system: transport and telecommunications services, maintenance of tourist flows, international and regional trade.
Diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were established on November 23, 1992.
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan currently experience a rise in mutual economic ties. In January-June 2018, the trade turnover between the two countries increased by 52 percent, with Uzbek export growth of 48 percent. Over 200 companies with Kazakh capital currently operate in Uzbekistan.
Earlier, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan agreed to take further measures to ensure the growth of trade turnover to $3 billion in 2018 and $5 billion by 2020. The countries also intend to increase the number of rail, bus and air communication between the two states.
Kazakhstan mainly exports to Uzbekistan oil and oil products, mining industry products, grains, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, products of inorganic chemistry and food products.
Uzbekistan exports to Kazakhstan energy sources (gas), cotton fiber, chemical products and plastics, fertilizers, fruits and vegetables and other types of goods.
Uzbek investments in Kazakhstan for the past 10 years amounted to $31.3 million, half of which accounts for 2016. Kazakh investments in Uzbekistan totalled $114.4 million in the past decade.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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