S.Korea, Uzbekistan online talks focus on investments, free economic zones
BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 9
By Ilkin Seyfaddini - Trend:
Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov held online talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance of South Korea Hong Nam-ki, Trend reports citing the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan.
"The parties agreed to continue systematic work in the current economic environment in order to minimize the risks of delays in the implementation of joint projects and initiatives. It was agreed that the Working Group, headed by the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Economic Affairs of the two countries, will provide targeted assistance to the initiators of investment projects and promptly address emerging issues," the message said.
Special attention was paid to supporting the implementation of the “Tashkent Pharma Park” project, which provided for the creation of a pharmaceutical cluster in the Tashkent region.
The Korean side will intensify work on attracting leading Korean companies to implement joint projects in the cluster, and solve the issue of financing a part of the project by Eximbank Korea.
"The parties also discussed possibilities of cooperation on the development of free economic zones in Uzbekistan - in particular, the prospects for sending a Korean working group consisting of specialists from the Transport Ministry of Korea Republic and the EH Corporation (which has experience in implementing infrastructure projects in Korea) as part of a project to transfer the Angren Free Economic Zone to the trust management of the Incheon Free Economic Zone," the message said.
The discussion also touched upon prospects for increasing trade by eliminating certain barriers and facilitating access of goods manufactured in Uzbekistan and South Korea to the markets of the two countries. An agreement was reached to expedite the negotiation process on signing a free trade agreement. The Korean side also expressed its readiness to begin the second stage of the project – creation of a national online e-commerce platform in Uzbekistan, which is a large-scale innovative project implemented at the expense of a Korean grant.
An agreement has also been reached to intensify bilateral cooperation in the process of Uzbekistan’s joining the World Trade Organization, in particular, through attracting expert consultants from the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, the message said.
In addition, the ministers discussed promising mechanisms for cooperation in the financial and technical sphere – they examined proposals for the implementation of new projects with grants from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), as well as measures to expand the joint project portfolio with the Korea Eximbank and the Economic Development and Cooperation Fund (EDCF).
The Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, jointly with The Ministry of Economy and Finance of South Korea, will develop a new three-year program of financial and technical cooperation with EDCF for 2021-2023.
Possibilities of providing the Government of the Korea with financial and technical support to Uzbekistan as part of measures to counter the spread of coronavirus infection and minimize the economic impact of the pandemic have been considered.
Follow author on Twitter: @seyfaddini