Uzbekistan remains attractive country for German investments amid crisis
Vitaliy Volkov, Deutsche Welle
The world economic crisis did not pass away Uzbekistan. But the country remains attractive for German business, according to German economy's representative office head Jorg Hetsch.
Deutsche Welle: How do you assess ongoing processes in the Uzbek economy on the background of global crisis? To what degree did the crisis affect the country?
Jorg Hetsch: Of course, the crisis has impacted Uzbekistan as well. However the country could avoid the crisis easily unlike Kazakhstan as the country is less involved with the global financial markets. Uzbek economy is focused on crude export. Fall in prices on crude that country sells excluding gold affects country's economy to certain degree. The other major export item is UzDEUAvto cars. The Russian market, key buyer of this product, suffers crisis. The production largest Uzbek car plant has reduced almost twice in 2008.
Q: Did conditions provided for foreign investors including German investors have improved or worsened?
A: I can not say that conditions for investors have worsened in Uzbekistan for the last years. Companies who make every effort to work on this market face challenges which are inherent in Uzbekistan like other Central Asian states. Challenges can be bureaucracy and corruption. Uzbekistan also faces problems in converting national currency. It affects investors and a number of foreign businesses in Uzbekistan. We receive complaints about the conversion every now and then. As to large projects implemented with Uzbek government, German companies do not face serious challenges. Daimler signed a contract to deliver 200 city buses to Tashkent. A contract is being designed to supply additional 300 buses. Those who persistently stay on this market, find good perspectives to run profitable business some amid degrading terms.
Q: What is the difference of Uzbekistan-Germany economic ties compared to other Central Asian republics?
A: About 80 German companies are doing business in Uzbekistan. This is high indicator compared to the total number of German companies in the Central Asia. Uzbekistan ranks second for volume of investments and number of German companies among the five Central Asian states. Foreign trade with Uzbekistan's is also growing.
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