Uzbekistan set to cut imports through expanding output of localized goods

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 21

By Nigar Guliyeva - Trend:

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has instructed to create an interdepartmental working group on organization of new localization capacities with a view to cut imports.

This was announced at a meeting dedicated to the analysis of the ongoing activities on reducing the volume of imports and expanding production of localized products on Feb.21.

There was reported that last year, within the framework of the localization program, production worth 9.9 trillion soums has been produced. Products for $512 million or 20 percent more than in 2016 were exported. The output of 100 new types of products was mastered, while imports in basic industries decreased by $353 million.

However, in 2017, production did not start on 176 out of 948 localization projects, while production forecasts on 218 projects was not fulfilled. Thus, according to 77 projects of the Agency for Development of Pharmaceutical Industry, production for 206 billion soums was not provided. Some 12 projects of JSC “Uzbekozikovkatholding” (food industry), 17 projects of JSC “Uzavtosanoat” (automobile industry), 65 projects in the city of Tashkent and the same number in Tashkent region have not been implemented at the proper level.

Mirziyoyev criticized the shortcomings revealed during the realization of the program.

The president also criticized the fact that the import reduction plan for $1.81 billion was executed by 88 percent. There was reported that some enterprises increased imports of goods, despite these products were manufactured in Uzbekistan. In 2017, such products were imported for $185 million, in January this year – $65 million.

The meeting also considered effectiveness of tax and customs benefits provided to stimulate localization.

It was reported that due to unreasonable collection of customs payments for certain types of goods, the price of products produced in Uzbekistan is higher than imported analogues. For example, equipment imported for textile industry is exempt from all customs duties. However, the import of components for production of such equipment is subject to a 20 percent value-added tax. The same inconsistencies are observed for tax benefits.

Theretofore, the president tasked the ministries of economy and foreign trade to form a new, comprehensively elaborated Program of localization, to make concrete proposals on abolition of customs payments for import of certain components, which cannot be localized at a competitive price.

The task was set up to form an Interdepartmental Working Group on organization of new localization capacities on the basis of a system analysis of the import volumes and structure, comprising of heads and responsible employees of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the State Customs Committee, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and economic associations.

Mirziyoyev stressed that the economy must be competitive, and products must be produced domestically.

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