On November 22, Tashkent hosted a press conference on “Expanding the opportunities of the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) for Uzbekistan”.
The event was attended by the leadership of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan, the embassies of the EU member states in Uzbekistan, ministries and agencies, the private sector, as well as representatives of local and foreign media.
Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Badriddin Abidov, noted that the decision of the European Union to grant Uzbekistan the status of a GSP+ beneficiary country and extend the validity of these benefits is a vivid international recognition of the comprehensive reforms being carried out in the country today under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, including in the field of forming a democratic state with strong institutions of public administration and civil society.
On November 22, the European Union extended the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) for the next four years until December 31, 2027.
At the opening of the press conference, the Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan, Charlotte Adriaen, noted the following:
“I am pleased that GSP+ is becoming a real success story in the everyday closer partnership between the EU and Uzbekistan. It gives major impetus to the private sector in your country, with easier access to the 448-million-strong European consumer base, incentives for stronger cooperation between European and Uzbek companies, and significant savings at the borders. On the political side, GSP+ accompanies Uzbekistan’s strategy to adhere to international standards in human and labour rights, good governance, and the environment by implementing 27 international conventions. The extension of GSP+ will enable more predictability for the private sector and is an additional sign of the EU’s continuous commitment to support Uzbekistan reform process”.
It should be noted that as a result of the measures taken to strengthen trade relations with the European Union and expand the geography of Uzbekistan’s exports by the end of 2022, 628 enterprises (116 more than in the corresponding period of 2021) exported local products to European markets for $647 million equivalent (i.e., twice as much compared to since 2020 ($292 million).
In particular, within the framework of the GSP+ benefits, textile industry products worth $177.4 million were exported to the EU markets (an increase of 126.4% compared to 2021), chemical industry – $138.3 million (4.7 times growth), agriculture and food industry – $19.7 million (103% rise), the electrical industry – $9 million (117% increase).
“Together with the profitable use of GSP+ benefits, we express our readiness to cooperate with the European Union in the monitoring processes of this mechanism and work together to meet the requirements of relevant international conventions. At the same time, we are interested in our cooperation with the European Union within the framework of GSP+ becoming a significant impetus for further deepening our trade, economic, and investment relations with the European side to expand further the fundamental reforms carried out in our country to form a market economy”, Mr. Badriddin Abidov said.
In 2022, thanks to GSP+, Uzbek exporters saved 28 million euros in import duties. This is a significant EU contribution to the development of the Uzbek private sector. Between 2019 and 2022, it grew more than ten-fold.
Within the framework of the report of the European Union Monitoring Commission GSP+, presented at a press conference, it was noted that Uzbekistan has made significant progress in the implementation of UN conventions by adopting several legislative acts on women’s rights and gender equality, combating violence, improving economic and social rights. The beneficiary status of the GSP+ preferential system creates an opportunity to expand mutually beneficial trade and economic relations between Uzbekistan and representatives of European business.
At the event, Shahzoda Kuchkarova, Adviser of the Chairman of the Uzbekistan Textile and Garment Industry Association, and Bektemir Murodov, Adviser of the Chairman of the Uzeltechsanoat Association, emphasized the importance of benefits provided within the framework of GSP+ for the textile and electrical industries of the country with special potential.
Nasiba Ziyodullayeva, UzA