Uzbekistan, like a jewel in the crown of Movarrounnakhr, has been the core of science, trade and culture for many centuries. Today, cultural ties and trade and economic cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan are united by a strong bridge of warm and cordial relations built in the distant past. We are happy to see how Uzbek-Turkish cooperation in various areas is becoming more positive and fruitful, especially in recent years. As you know, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev during his visit to Samarkand on November 18, 2016. This meeting gave a huge impetus to a new round of development of our relations, which was reflected in the creation of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council in 2017, when our relations rose to the level of strategic partnership. In 2018 and 2019, there was a significant increase in the volume of our mutually beneficial trade with Uzbekistan. Currently, Turkey is the fourth largest export partner of Uzbekistan and the fifth largest import partner.
We welcome the achievement of Turkey’s position as an important partner in Uzbekistan’s foreign trade. At the same time, bilateral relations should be activated in order to increase the volume of foreign trade to $ 5 billion, which was set by our presidents. In this regard, our priority task is to increase the volume of work related to the preferential trade agreement, which our relevant ministries are diligently continuing, and to achieve a quick positive result. I am confident that the preferential trade agreement will lead to even closer cooperation in the future. We are also pleased to observe and state the fact that loans allocated to Uzbekistan by Turkeximbank have started to be utilized, which was agreed during the visit of President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Uzbekistan on April 30, 2018. We are confident that this resource, which was allocated for implementation of general commercial and investment projects with a volume of $ 350 million, will be effectively used by representatives of the business community.
The visits of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to our country on February 19-20, 2020 was also very successful. The decisions taken at the first assembly of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council, as well as the joint participation of distinguished presidents in the opening of the public library under the President of Turkey, indicate the high level of our current relations.
Uzbekistan is one of the countries where Turkey has invested the most in regional development. The indicator of total investment in Uzbekistan, if it is calculated taking into account the addition of what was carried out through the mediation of third countries, reaches one billion US dollars. In today’s difficult environment related to the pandemic, we need to be even more united in our efforts to support and further strengthen our mutual economic relations. I would like to take this opportunity to once again encourage Turkish businessmen to take advantage of Uzbekistan’s investment opportunities and establish new partnerships with Uzbek companies. I also appeal to Uzbek entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by trade and mutual investment in your country in order to overcome the economic crisis together.
Fuat OKTAY, Vice President of the Republic of Turkey