AmCham is happy to report on the work of the Trade and Investment Committee that was resumed early this year after a few year break. The Committee held three meetings during Feb-May period and has already made certain progress in achieving its goals, which were defined during its first meeting as to promote favorable T&I climate in Uzbekistan, facilitate the entrance of potential investors to Uzbekistan, and facilitate the current T&I activities of AmCham members. The participants of the first two meetings actively discussed how the Committee can achieve its goals and came to important conclusions at these meetings that have put a solid ground for the future work of the Committee. The Committee identified the importance of improving the communication with the government bodies as well as the necessity for a close work with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry o Uzbekistan and international organizations, such as UNDP.
One of the priority projects of the T&I Committee was identified as the participation of AmCham in the elaboration of the new Customs Code of Uzbekistan that is currently being prepared by the Government of Uzbekistan. The meeting of T&I Committee Chairman Yevgeny Onokhin and AmCham Executive Director
Tatyana Bystrushkina with UNDP representative Bakhodir Sharipov helped AmCham to see a good opportunity for our organization to be involved into this process via participation in the Expert Council meetings organized by UNPD and the Government of Uzbekistan. During the Expert Council meetings, the participants discuss the new Customs Code based on the proposals sent to the Expert Council by interested parties. The most recent meeting of the Committee on May 5, 2008 featured a report of UNDP representative Latif Norov, who is leading the project in UNDP on Improving the Customs Administration of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on the status of the new Customs Code elaboration process. The report followed by active discussion of the participants on AmCham's involvement into this process with a conclusion that AmCham will undertake the collection of recommendations from its member companies, process these recommendations and present them at the Expert Council meetings.
The meeting of AmCham and UNDP representatives mentioned above opened the prospects to collaborate in other important directions. For example, UNDP jointly with Uzbek Chamber of Commerce and Industry hold the so-called Business Forums on development strategies and policies in various economic sectors with participation of all interested parties, including the government and business circle representatives and others. This form of policy development provides an entirely new and different platform for all interested parties to be involved in this process. It gives an opportunity for a public-private dialog that allows the private sector to express its opinion on this or that policy issue and encourage the government to adopt and pursue balanced policies in various sectors. Participation of AmCham in the future Business Forums was also discussed at the T&I Committee meeting on May 5. It was noted that we should look at a possibility where AmCham, UNDP and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan could jointly define the topics of discussion for the new Business Forums and jointly organize these events.
Within the framework of T&I Committee activity, Yevgeny Onokhin and AmCham President Don Nicholson met with Director of UZINFOINVEST Agency Bakhtior Irmatov. During the meeting AmCham had an opportunity to learn more of the work of this Agency. In trying to achieve its goal to attract foreign investments in Uzbekistan UZINFOINVEST has over 200 investment projects that it can offer to potential foreign investors and can work individually with each particular potential investor based on his investment interests. The parties acknowledged that as part of the promotion of foreign investments in Uzbekistan, it is important to provide maximum protection to foreign investors. Mr. Irmatov stated that his Agency is ready to cooperate with AmCham on these issues and the parties agreed to look for opportunities in developing the relations of our organizations.
AmCham would like to thank all those who took part in the Committee meetings and we hope for your active participation in the future. We would also like to encourage other AmCham members to join the Committee work and look forward to a productive summer with you.
Prepared by: Yevgeny Onokhin, NUKEM, AmCham Director, Chairman of the Trade and Investment Committee