30 April 2016
Uzbekistan: Market Profile
Major Economic Indicators
- Located at the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is the region’s most populous country. Benefitting from abundant mineral resources such as petroleum, natural gas, coal and uranium, its energy sector plays a key role in ongoing economic development. Aside from having among the highest reserves of gas, coal and uranium in the world, Uzbekistan is also a major producer and exporter of cotton.
- While the major part of the country’s industrial output remains tied to agriculture and the processing of cotton, fruits, vegetables and grain (wheat, rice and corn), the automotive, agricultural machinery manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, information technology, leather and tourism sectors have expanded since Uzbekistan became independent on 30 August 1991.
- While the relationship between Russia and Uzbekistan has deteriorated in recent times, Sino-Uzbek relations have been fast improving, thanks to years of frequent trade and business. In late 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed investment deals worth US$15 billion in key sectors, including oil, gas, and uranium exploitation, with the Uzbek government.
- In June 2015, Uzbekistan signed an agreement with China for the extension of economic cooperation between the countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Under the new agreement, there will be more bilateral cooperation in such areas as business, transportation and telecommunications, while collaboration on bulk stock trading, infrastructure construction and industrial park projects will also be fostered.
- The inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Uzbekistan exceeded US$751 million in 2014, with China contributing US$181 million. As of the end of 2014, China’s total stock of FDI to Uzbekistan topped US$392 million, up from less than US$12 million in 2005. Investment from Hong Kong, though, is far from significant.
- The Uzbek government has carried out several reforms in taxation and foreign investment to attract investment. For instance, to facilitate the smooth set-up of business, the government abolished the paid-in minimum capital requirement and eliminated the requirement to have signature samples notarised before opening a bank account in 2014.
- More information on starting a business and investing in Uzbekistan, covering tax and accounting systems, investment policy, FDI notification and registration can be found at the Information Support & Foreign Investments Promotion Agency (UZINFOINVEST).
Hong Kong’s Trade with Uzbekistan
More information on the Belt and Road countries’ economic and investment environment, tax and other subjects that are important in considering investment and doing business are available in The Belt and Road Initiative: Country Business Guides.