Uzbekistan conquers Belarus

Uzbekistan conquers Belarus

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev will pay an official visit to Belarus on July 31 - August 1. The state and prospects of bilateral cooperation in the political, trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian fields will be discussed during the meeting with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Besides, Belarus’ experience in the construction of nuclear power plants is also interesting for Uzbekistan.

Uzbek entrepreneurs decided to surprise Belarusians and brought to the republic more than 1000 products made at 80 enterprises and 15 business associations in 10 regions of the country. All the products were displayed in the pavilions of the National Exhibition Center ‘BelExpo’ at the Made in Uzbekistan exhibition. As Belarusian Prime Minister Vladimir Dvornik said at the opening of the event, “a large expanded display of Uzbek goods in Minsk will further strengthen the relations between the two countries.” The exhibition will be visited by presidents Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Alexander Lukashenko. Uzbekistan expects to significantly increase the supply of its goods to Belarus.

This is the return visit of the head of Uzbekistan to Belarus. Last year, Alexander Lukashenko visited Tashkent. Over the past year, Minsk and Tashkent have refuted a theory that the geographical distance between two countries can be an obstacle to close cooperation. Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Eler Ganiyev hopes, that this year "the trade turnover will increase to about $ 500 mln.”

After becoming President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev stated that the Belarusian direction could become one of the major in order to increase Uzbek exports and establish productive cooperation. Uzbekistan is interested in Belarus for its technological potential, engineering and food industry. Enterprises in both countries found interaction vectors in key areas. Belarus has an excellent basis in the pharmaceutical industry. The two countries have several joint projects in this area. There are also projects in agriculture - fruit and vegetable processing. The collaboration has been established in the field of information and communication technologies. Uzbek car manufacturers are hoping to enter the Belarusian market.

Belarus has its interest in Uzbekistan. First of all, it is a big, thirty-million market. Minsk is sure that cooperation with Uzbekistan, creation of joint ventures in pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, should aim the entering of third countries markets, Including Afghanistan, Pakistan and China.

A researcher at the Center for Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga Region, Alexander Vorobiev, believes that the goal-setting of Tashkent concerning Belarus is in many ways similar to the economic tasks of the Uzbek authorities concerning Moscow. "Belarus is a real and potential market for Uzbek products - textiles, fruits and vegetables. Minsk is also an attractive partner for imports of engineering products and, moreover, industrial and educational cooperation in the machinery and equipment sector. Therefore, the upcoming visit of Mirziyoyev to Belarus fully fits into the logic of the current political and economic strategy of Uzbekistan, which is based on economic pragmatism and increasing the export potential of the republic ", Vorobyov told Vestnik Kavkaza.

According to him, the Uzbek authorities are eager to introduce both capital and regional enterprises to the international community. That is why during the visit Mirziyoyev will pay attention to the establishment of cooperation between the regions.

Nor should we ignore the fact that Minsk is an active political and economic partner of China. The Uzbek leader, for sure, will see the Great Stone, a Chinese-Belarusian industrial park under construction, the largest project with foreign investment and an important symbol of cooperation between China and Belarus in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The park maintains Belarus’ status as a geopolitically significant country. “Thus, we have a field for more substantive coordination of Minsk and Tashkent’s actions with respect to Chinese integration initiatives,” the expert said.

Discussion of the controversial issues between Russia and Belarus is unlikely to take place during the meeting of the presidents. It will not yield any practical results to Minsk, and Uzbekistan officials hardly want to upset Moscow. Therefore, on the political level, the communication will probably be maintained in the framework of general friendship and cooperation.

Another important issue is the cooperation in the military-industrial complex (MIC). Before Uzbekistan cooperated only with Russia, now the negotiations are underway with a number of countries, including Belarus. Two meetings of the joint Belarusian-Uzbek commission on military-technical cooperation were already held. The Uzbek military visited several Belarusian organizations of the Goskomvoyenprom system and the defense sector of the economy, where they got acquainted with the country’s capabilities and potential. For now, there is only a memorandum of understanding in this area. But given the fact that Belarus has a serious military-industrial complex that competes quite successfully with Russia in certain areas - armored vehicles, air defense systems, electronic warfare- the cooperation will develop.

"Following the talks, the parties are expected to sign a joint statement and adopt a weighty package of documents that will become a solid basis for expanding and strengthening of the Uzbek-Belarusian multifaceted partnership, including in the field of investment, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation. Establishing direct links between the regions are expected", the press service of the President of Uzbekistan reported.

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