Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov yesterday in Samarkand discussed opportunities for increasing mutual trade between the two countries. By the end of the year, it is expected to approach $10 billion. Moscow, which is interested in Tashkent’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), recalls that such a step will remove many obstacles to trade and, which should be especially important for Uzbekistan, will ensure free movement of labor. The Uzbek side, however, does not speak publicly on the topic of joining the union and yesterday focused more on industrial cooperation and joint projects. Among the latter, the gas union of Moscow, Tashkent and Astana was discussed yesterday.
Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to Uzbekistan de facto continued the logic of establishing ties with partners outside the EAEU five in difficult geopolitical conditions for Russia (two weeks earlier prime minister visited Azerbaijan). The visit began on Thursday with a rather informal program. The official part fell on Friday: Mikhail Mishustin, together with Abdulla Aripov, visited the Russian-Uzbek business forum, then the discussion of cooperation continued at a meeting of the joint commission. As the Russian prime minister noted, the format of the commission emphasizes the “special nature” of relations — it is used only “with a few countries.”
trading partner ahead of China. The share of the Russian Federation in the foreign trade turnover of the republic at the end of 2021 is 17.9%. In January-October of this year, mutual trade is estimated at $7.5 billion (an increase of 30.5% compared to the comparable period of 2021). In general, for 2022, this figure is expected to approach $10 billion. Given the sanctions and the withdrawal of Western companies from Russia, it is quite important for Moscow to continue such dynamics. The day before, the head of the Ministry of Economy Maxim Reshetnikov noted that now the Uzbek business has the opportunity to occupy the niches that have formed in the Russian market.
areas of interaction. In particular, this will make it possible to remove tariff, non-tariff, customs and other barriers to trade.
Earlier, one of the advantages of integration was the freedom of movement of labor in the EAEU (for example, the possibility of labor migrants to work in Russia). no patent). It should be noted that the significance of this is growing given the expansion of the pilot project for the targeted recruitment of citizens of Uzbekistan to work in the Russian Federation (see Kommersant of November 14). According to Maxim Reshetnikov, strengthening integration with the EAEU would allow Uzbekistan to increase its total exports by a third. July 4, 2021). Abdulla Aripov did not raise this issue at all in the public part of the events yesterday.
In these conditions, plans for industrial cooperation and the implementation of joint investment projects look more substantive. Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, as well as transport infrastructure (in particular, the creation of new transport corridors) and the fuel and energy complex are called promising areas. Yesterday the project of a “tripartite” gas union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was discussed. According to the results of the commission’s meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, this is about a “more comprehensive” use of the infrastructure connecting the unified gas transportation system of Russia with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to meet their domestic needs and increase Russian exports. According to him, Tashkent is interested in this project (in Astana, it was previously stated that this issue “needs to be looked into”).