Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to expand their economic cooperation

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan have agreed to facilitate mutual trade, according to a joint statement the two sides made after negotiations at the top level in Tashkent.

While giving a speech, President Tokayev said that thanks to the joint efforts of the two governments, the turnover between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is going to reach roughly $5 billion this year.

The main priority for the two sides is the expansion of industrial cooperation. There are already ten joint Kazakhstani-Uzbekistani ventures that operate in the spheres of machine building, pharmaceuticals, construction and textiles. Now, the two countries want more such businesses.

«During the recent interregional business congress in Tashkent, we have signed commercial contracts for $2.5 billion. In terms of all investment agreements and arrangements the amount of mutual investment reaches $8 billion in total,» said Tokayev.

The president believes that an International Center for Industrial Cooperation created by the two countries will boost the intensification of bilateral cooperation. The center is set to be the largest industrial and trade hub in Central Asia. It is expected that the center will expand the logistical potential of the two countries.

«We have agreed to speed up the contraction of the Darbaza-Maktaaral railroad with the connection to the Syrdarya railway station. The new route will expand our transit capacity and reduce pressure on the Saryagash border crossing. Also, we will continue our bilateral work on sustainable use of trans-border rivers in Central Asia,» Tokayev said.

The two countries also want to develop the logistical potential of the region. Kazakhstani company PTC Holding will invest $300 million into an up-to-date logistical center near Tashkent before 2030. At the first stage of the project, the company is going to allocate $70 million.

Tokayev and Mirziyoyev also want to see what can be done in the sphere of energy, including oil supply, oil transit and refineries.

«The two cabinets have been ordered to prepare concrete proposals to intensify the cooperation in the field of energy,» the president noted.

According to Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin, over the first ten months of 2022, the turnover between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reached $4.1 billion, a 35% increase compared to the same period last year. In December 2021, during the official visit of President Mirziyoyev to Astana, President Tokayev noted that the volume of bilateral trade between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was about $3 billion. At the time, the two sides set a goal to expand this figure to $10 billion. «This is a very high rate,» Tokayev said at that time.

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