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UK and Uzbekistan to mark 25 years of influential trade council

UK and Uzbekistan to mark 25 years of influential trade council
Photo: FCDO

Next month, the governments of Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom will convene at the 25th anniversary meeting of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council (UBTIC), an influential body that brings together government and commercial leaders. 

This year, UBTIC will be held as an online conference hosted by the British Embassy in Tashkent and the UK’s Department for International Trade. The conference will take place on February 3-4.  

The online conference will feature over 40 speakers, including leading Uzbek and British executives as well as senior figures from international financial institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation.

Alongside the conference proceedings, official delegations from Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom will engage in meetings intended to set the agenda for bilateral trade and investment. The delegation of Uzbekistan will be led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov. The British delegation will be led by Rt Hon. Greg Hands, State Minister for Trade Policy.

Commercial relationship between the two countries received a boost in December 2019 with the signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement—this will be the first UBTIC meeting since the agreement came into force. Over the last year, British and Uzbek companies have continued to make strides in four key sectors that will feature prominently in the UBTIC proceedings—clean energy, financial services, healthcare, and education. In each of these areas, British firms are providing technology, expertise, and capital to help contribute to the rapid modernization of Uzbekistan’s economy.

British Ambassador Tim Torlot highlighted the untapped potential in the bilateral relationship and the importance of recent reforms.

“For several decades, UK businesses have played a central role in the economic development of countries like Uzbekistan, assisting in the creation of better commercial and regulatory frameworks that can make the country more attractive for global businesses. The progress made so far is very encouraging,” he noted.

Uzbek Ambassador Said Rustamov underlined how vibrant liberalisation of the country’s economy has created new business opportunities and led to continued growth in the business network.

“The number of Uzbek and British companies in regular contact is greater than ever before. UBTIC is becoming more than a governmental initiative and is becoming an active and influential business community,” said Rustamov.

Participants in the online conference will be able to use a special platform to connect with other executives and arrange B2B meetings. With funding provided by the British Embassy in Tashkent and the Department for International Trade, there is no cost to participate for Uzbek and British firms.