Vladimir Putin: Volume of Our Investments Nears $9b, and That Is Just the Start
The state visit of the President of the Russian Federation to Uzbekistan proved, without exaggeration, a breakthrough, because the two sides not only signed a solid package of documents on various areas of cooperation, but also laid the foundation for a n
If one follows its results, then the key points will be more than enough: the launch of the nuclear power plant construction project, the willingness of the Russian Federation to help Uzbekistan create a national space communications system, develop military-technical cooperation with Uzbekistan, product sharing for the Jel hydrocarbon field, multi-billiondollar contracts among the regions of the two countries, hundreds of agreements among higher education institutions, bringing the volume of trade to $ 10 billion and much more.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Vladimir Putin spoke in detail about all this during a press statement.
ECONOMY IN PRIORITY, AS THE TRADITION GOES
Surely, the trade and economic sphere was and remains at the forefront. Speaking about it, the President of our country noted: “Russia is a key trade partner of Uzbekistan. We are grateful to the Russian side for creating a “green corridor” for the supply of fruits and vegetables to Russia. We have agreed to extend this practice to other types of our products, including textiles.”
A package of new investment agreements and trade contracts was prepared with leading Russian companies and banks: Gazprom, Gazprombank, LUKOIL, Rosatom, Forus, Vneshekonombank and others – in the amount of about $ 25 billion.
We are interested in the development of direct contacts among the regions of the two countries. Of great importance is the holding of the First Interregional Forum of Uzbekistan and Russia during the visit, the outcome of which was cooperation projects worth more than $ 2 billion.”
“The Joint Statement that we just signed set clear guidelines for further work of ministries, departments and organizations to deepen cooperation,” the President of the Russian Federation continued. “Other important bilateral agreements have been signed, as well as major commercial contracts.”
Traditionally, priority attention was paid to the issues of economic development and interaction in this area.
Last year, bilateral trade grew by 34%, and in January-July this year it added another 32%. The volume of accumulated Russian investment in the Uzbek economy is close to nine billion dollars. But I think this is just the beginning. We see how quickly and how fundamentally the situation in Uzbekistan is changing, how reforms are organized and carried out, which are long overdue and absolutely necessary for the Uzbek economy and the Uzbek people.
Russian investments in the Uzbek economy exceed $ 8.5 billion.
We understand that there is a rather difficult period at the first steps in this direction. We can appreciate it because we ourselves have been through it. But we are sure that not only in the long-term, but also in the medium-term perspective, the effect will be very positive and the economy of Uzbekistan and the people’s life will change for the better, will change fundamentally for the better.
This gives us the opportunity to develop relationships on a new basis. Thanks to these changes, which you are now spearheading in Uzbekistan, it is possible to achieve this serious expansion of trade and economic ties.
In order to give the RussianUzbek cooperation, primarily in the economic sphere, an additional impetus, we decided with the President to create a joint commission under the leadership of prime ministers. The commission will deal with strategic issues of economic, investment and technological interaction.” THE DEEP MEANING OF THE SYMBOLIC BUTTON
We are not afraid to refer to the launch of a project to build the first nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan to be the main event of the visit.
On October 19, in Tashkent, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Vladimir Putin via videoconferencing launched the project to build the first nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan by pressing a symbolic button.
Alisher Sultanov, Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, and Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom, were at one of the priority sites for the construction of a future nuclear power station in the Jizzakh region. “In accordance with your instructions, dear Shavkat Miromonovich, several sites have been allocated for the study of seismology, geology and economic expediency. Now we are on one of them and are ready to start exploration works,” Alisher Sultanov reported.
“We are ready, together with our Uzbek friends, to begin exploration and site selection. The main criterion here is safety and full compliance with all international standards and rules of the IAEA,” said Alexei Likhachev.
“Today, together with esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich, we will launch the implementation of a new project of strategic partnership – the first nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. “Its construction will contribute to the development of industrial potential and the creation of new jobs in various sectors of the economy of our country.”
Vladimir Putin noted in this connection: “Today, together with Shavkat Miromonovich, we will launch the implementation of this project. In fact, this is not just about building a large industrial facility; it is about creating a new industry in Uzbekistan, a new sector.”
Two NPP power units with a total capacity of 2.4 megawatts will ensure the production of inexpensive and clean electricity, which is planned to be supplied to consumers both in Uzbekistan and in other countries of Central Asia, which will contribute to the energy stability of not only Uzbekistan, but also of the entire region.
According to Russian specialists, the first power unit of the station is planned to be launched before the end of 2028. SECURITY WILL BE GUARANTEED The proximity and concurrence of the positions of the two countries on many issues creates a reliable basis for furthering the bilateral cooperation. The Tashkent talks reaffirmed the similarity of the stances of leaders of the two nations on topical regional and international issues.
In this regard, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said that interaction within the framework of the United Nations, the CIS, the SCO and other authoritative international and regional structures will continue. “Security issues will always be in our focus,” he said. “There was a detailed exchange of views on the coordination of joint efforts to counter terrorism and extremism, especially radicalization among the youth. We also comprehensively discussed cooperation in the military and military-technical fields.”
“It is in our common interests to normalize the situation in Afghanistan,” Vladimir Putin stressed. “Russia welcomes the active participation of Uzbekistan in helping to launch the peace process. We consider it important to stop the threats emanating from that country that are associated with the spread of terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.”
According to the Russian leader, an important factor in ensuring the security of our states is the factor of military and military-technical interaction. In this regard, he expressed readiness to develop military-technical cooperation with Uzbekistan, including joint production of weapons in the republic: “We are ready to develop militarytechnical cooperation, bearing in mind not only the supply of arms and modern equipment, but also the joint production of this equipment on the territory and at the enterprises of Uzbekistan,” he said, adding that several hundred officers of the army of Uzbekistan are currently studying in Russian military colleges. THE WORKING, LIVE FORMAT
Agriculture was one of the main topics on the agenda of the First Forum of Regions held in Tashkent. It was a large-scale event organized jointly with a number of ministries and organizations of the Russian Federation. A prominent Russian delegation representing dozens of regions took part in it.
As Putin noted, “the idea of such a joint event was proposed by Shavkat Miromonovich, and we, of course, fully supported it. The Russian-Uzbek Forum of Regions can become an annual format. Russia holds similar interregional forums with a number of CIS countries, and this brings good results not only for the development of cooperation among the regions, but also for bilateral relations in general.”
Addressing the forum participants, the Uzbek President stressed: “Contacts between the regions have acquired high intensity and efficiency. Over the year, more than forty reciprocal visits took place, and in recent months alone, leaders of all 14 regions of our country have visited 26 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Heads and representatives of 18 federal regions of Russia participate in our joint forum. This has never been the case before. I would like to especially note that it is you who determine specific areas of interaction.”
Speaking about the need to create joint high-tech industries, expanding cooperation for the production of marketable goods and exploring the markets of third countries, the President of Uzbekistan cited several examples of successful cooperation: “It is the creation of a joint textile cluster with the participation of companies in the Ivanovo region in the regions of Uzbekistan (in Navoi region), together with a partner from Tatarstan, the production of chemical fertilizers in the Tashkent region and pharmaceuticals in Karakalpakstan. The cooperation uses the infrastructure of the wholesale distribution centers in the Moscow region, Bashkiria, the Orenburg region and other parts of Russia to organize the supply of agricultural products, the creation in the Surkhandarya region of a modern agricultural complex for growing and supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to the markets of Moscow, with the Sverdlovsk region – the construction of a plant for the production of light and heavy metal structures of the Kashkadarya region. And there are many such projects.
But the most important result is that strong, long-term partnerships have been established among our regions. I want to assure you: our colleagues from Uzbekistan present here, members of government, heads of ministries, departments and regions will fully contribute to the implementation of these projects. You, dear guests, must be sure that each project [will be implemented], because Vladimir Vladimirovich and I have long wanted this.”
The program of the Forum included presentations of Russian companies in the field of transport and information technologies, energy and engineering, the textile industry, a meeting of the Uzbek-Russian Business Council, a practical seminar “Agribusiness: Growth Points for Developing Cooperation”, the exhibition “Promising Areas of Cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan” meetings of businessmen in B2B format.
However, the forum participants also discussed bureaucratic obstacles that hinder the rapid development of cooperation. The heads of state assured that the base created today between Uzbekistan and Russia creates all the conditions so that these obstacles do not exist. In particular, Putin declared: “Of course, the work on optimization of mutual trade and its logistics should be continued. The issue of loading the transport returning to Uzbekistan will have to be resolved, and, of course, in this case, Russian products, including foodstuffs are point of discussion. There are opportunities for this, the volume of agricultural production in Russia over the past five years has increased by more than 20%. We say that a real breakthrough has been made in this area. Last year, a record yield of grain was harvested – 135 million tons, this year it will be a little smaller, but still a significant amount – over 100 million tons.”
In this context, the agricultural exhibition held as part of the forum allowed for establishing useful business contacts and entering new promising joint projects. Russia expressed its willingness to fully meet the needs of Uzbek farmers in high-quality agricultural equipment, to help in the modernization of the food and processing industry. And, by the way, the largest enterprise in the field of agricultural machinery industry, Rostselmash, is launching a project to manufacture forage harvesters in Uzbekistan. Other Russian manufacturers have similar plans.
I emphasize that during the construction of NPP, the most advanced technologies, cost-effective and reliable engineering solutions will be applied, the highest safety standards and the most stringent environmental requirements will be observed.”