Uzbekistan ‘s role in Eurasian economic Union is gaining momentum
On May 27 2022, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
Uzbekistan adopted in 2020 a new observer status in the Eurasian economic Union (EAEU. Its full member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kasim-Jomart Togayev, Prime Minister of Armenia President Nikol Pashinyan, President of Cuba Miguel Bermudez and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kasim-Jomart Togayev took part in the event, which was held in the form of a video conference chaired by President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadir Japarov.
The objective of Uzbekistan is today to transform Central Asia into a zone of close cooperation to overcome the geopolitical fractures in the new Great Power rivalry context on the Eurasian continent. This is why Uzbekistan is keen to combine all different geopolitical strategies of Great Powers like the « One Belt one Road initiative » promoted by China, « Greater Eurasia partnership » promoted by Russia, India’s “Connect Central Asia Policy”, European Union’s Central Asian strategy, United States Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025: « Advancing Sovereignty and Economic Prosperity »
This role of Uzbekistan as an observer in the EAEU is fully in line with the Uzbek foreign policy doctrine. The Uzbek foreign policy based on a multivector foreign-policy doctrine is concerned with maintaining geopolitical balance.
The observer status of Uzbekistan in the Eurasian economic union confirms both the regionalization and multipolarization process at work in the Eurasian continent. This initiative should be seen as a constructive development and a new geopolitical laboratory to strengthen synergies between international organizations, in order to achieve stability under the principle of «indivisibility of security», on the Eurasian continent with a better balance of interests
The new observer status of Uzbekistan in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) but also the new process of cooperation in Central Asia (new Central Asia platform) are milestones that contribute to this new Eurasian architecture. Uzbekistan is willing to prove it is contributing to stability and to the reduction of rivalry between the great powers.
Uzbekistan is already member of SCO, a partner of the NATO Partnership for Peace, a major actor of the EU-Central Asia strategy, a member of OSCE, CIS and OIC, and now has a new observer status in EAEU.
Uzbekistan, as well as its Central Asian partners, have therefore a strong interest in promoting cooperation and synergies between these organizations.
Uzbekistan’s participation as an observer status to the Eurasian economic Union (EAEU) allow the government to examine the opportunities the organization can offer. Five areas are economically benefiting Uzbekistan:
1) obtaining new markets for its products since the majority of its trade partners are EAEU members
2) becoming more attractive to external investors wanting to have access to the markets of other EAEU countries
3) reduction of transportation costs through the EAEU countries
4) cooperation with EAEU, which can bring relief to the 2.3 million Uzbek migrants working in EAEU countries (mainly Russia and Kazakhstan)
5) potential reduction of oil prices, because Uzbekistan imports up to 400,000 tons of crude oil from EAEU countries each year
At the beginning of his speech, the President of Uzbekistan noted that Kyrgyzstan is actively pursuing the presidency of the EAEU and that the multifaceted cooperation within this organization serves.
It was noted that joint efforts have mitigated the negative effects of the pandemic and ensured a positive momentum in trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. In particular, trade turnover between Uzbekistan and the EAEU increased by 30 percent in 2021 and again by 33 percent since the beginning of the year 2022 The annual growth of investments attracted from the EAEU countries is nearly 25 percent.
Highlighting major changes in the world and crisis developments that have posed serious risks to the stability of the two nations, the head of Uzbekistan pointed out the most pressing issues requiring joint solutions.
The President of Uzbekistan called for mutual recognition of the continued removal of technical barriers and certification in trade between Uzbekistan and EaP countries. This greatly simplifies the penetration of tokens into our markets.
It was noted that expansion of agro-industrial cooperation through joint cultivation of crops and food production is of particular importance. In order to improve efficiency in this regard, it was proposed to develop a program of agro-cooperation, which provides for the abandonment of regional ties.
The leader of Uzbekistan drew attention to the need to further develop alternative transport corridors and strengthen interconnections in terms of transport in the southern and eastern directions. In this regard, it was noted that it is important to start as soon as possible the implementation of the project to restore the Uzbek-Kyrgyz-Chinese railroad, which provides additional opportunities for access to markets of the Asia-Pacific region.
From Termez to Peshawar, Pakistan, readiness was expressed to cooperate on the Trans-Afghan railroad project, which will provide the shortest route for access to South Asia and its two-billion-dollar consumer market.
Uzbekistan is promoting a new corridor Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan, to reach the ports of Gwadar and Karachi and have access to the Indian Ocean, and facilitate connections between Central Eurasia, South Asia, CIS countries and Europe.[ The objective to connect Uzbekistan and Central Eurasia to Afghanistan is not only justified for commercial reasons, but also for geopolitical goals, as a prosperous Afghanistan will be more stable. It is a way for Uzbekistan to project stability on its southern flank.
The President of Uzbekistan came up with an initiative to more effectively use the innovative potential of our countries and develop new forms of industrial cooperation between our entrepreneurs, primarily in the sphere of high technology.
In Tashkent with the participation of more than a thousand companies of the EAEU countries « Innoprom. International Industrial Exhibition « Central Asia » has become the first practical step in this direction.
It was proposed to develop a joint « road map » to stimulate and deepen the localization of cooperative ties in the chemical, pharmaceutical, machine building, electronic and other fields. It is important that the capabilities of institutions of higher education in the direction of research institutes and technology is more extensive.
Particular attention was paid to the need to combine efforts in the field of tourism, which should be a natural driver of economic development, as well as to fully restore the flow of passengers between our countries.
The President of Uzbekistan suggested holding a forum on tourism industry development in Uzbekistan with the participation of leading companies from the EAEU.
In conclusion, the President of Uzbekistan reaffirmed that Uzbekistan is determined to strive for mutually beneficial cooperation and consistently strengthen multifaceted partnership with the Eurasian Economic Union to ensure sustainable development and improve the well-being of our countries.