10 July 2022

Austrian business is interested in cooperation with Uzbekistan and Central Asia in general

The Embassy of Uzbekistan, together with the government of the federal state of Styria (Austria), the Federal Economic Chamber (FEPA) and the diplomatic missions of the Central Asian states organized the Economic Forum of Central Asian countries in the city of Graz.

Held for the first time in the Federal State of Styria in this format provided a unique opportunity for its participants to demonstrate the economic potential and opportunities, as well as promising areas of mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and Austria.

The main goal of this event is to familiarize Austrian business circles with the investment and economic potential of the countries of Central Asia, to establish cooperation and direct contacts between the business structures of Austria and our region in order to develop trade and economic ties.

The forum was attended by Christoph Ludwig, Managing Director of the Styrian Economic Development Promotion Agency, Clemens Mahal, Trade Representative of Austria for Central Asia, Cosima Steiner, Director of the FEPA Department, Robert Brugger, Director General of the Styrian Center for Internationalization, as well as heads of 30 largest companies of the federal state interested in establishing cooperation and intensifying investment activity in the Central Asian region.

The delegations of the Central Asian countries were represented at the level of heads of diplomatic missions, as well as online speakers from the relevant ministries and departments in charge of investment and foreign trade. Uzbekistan was represented by Ambassador Abat Fayzullaev and Department Director of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade Temurbek Anvarbekov.

The forum presented the trade, economic and investment potential of the republic, the practical measures taken to create a solid legal framework, a favorable and competitive environment for foreign investors, as well as separately demonstrated investment attractiveness and economic opportunities in energy, textile, chemical, agricultural, banking financial, tourism, pharmaceutical, educational and transport and logistics sectors.

The Forum participants were provided with comprehensive information about the socio-economic transformations carried out, the open economic policy pursued in the republic, as well as the results of large-scale reforms and the country’s international achievements in recent years.

The attention of the Austrian business circles is provided with detailed information on the existing industrial and free economic zones (FEZ), legal norms establishing special conditions and preferences for investment and entrepreneurial activities in the FEZ, as well as tax and customs benefits provided to foreign investors.

In addition, the measures taken by the government of the republic to increase the role of the private sector in the economy, reform state enterprises and privatize state assets, as well as the country’s intention to attract foreign investors in this process, are demonstrated.

The delegation of Uzbekistan also emphasized the increased export opportunities of the country after the republic acquired the status of a beneficiary country of the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP +) of the European Union. It was noted that obtaining this status made it possible to export 6,200 commodity items from Uzbekistan to the EU countries, which in turn will provide new prospects for foreign investors as part of the creation of export-oriented enterprises in the republic.

A call was also made for active participation in exchange trading for the implementation of export-import operations at the sites of UzEX JSC. 20 trading platforms of the Republican Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange created in foreign countries were noted, through which products worth $170 million were sold in the first four months of this year. The activity of more than 1.2 thousand foreign companies that carry out successful business on the UzEX sites was emphasized.

Taking into account the great interest on the part of Austrian companies in the Uzbek market, the Trade Representative of Austria for Central Asia, Clemens Mahal, and the General Director of ANDRITZ HYDRO GMBH, Norbert Schwartz, organized a separate presentation on running a successful business in our country, as well as on the favorable conditions created for foreign investors .

The participants of the event were also acquainted with the results of the networking conference “Austria Connect Central Asia” organized on May 30 – June 3, 2022 in Tashkent under the slogan “Uzbekistan is a rising star: new opportunities along the Great Silk Road”.

Within the framework of the economic forum, a meeting of the heads of diplomatic missions of the Central Asian countries with the Governor of the Federal Land of Styria Christoph Draxler was organized.

During the meeting, Christoph Draxler expressed readiness to further strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with the Central Asian countries in both trade and economic, and cultural and humanitarian spheres. The Governor especially noted the growing interest of Austrian companies in establishing close contacts with the Central Asian region.

The agricultural, tourism and energy industries, as well as the IT sector, are designated as priority areas for expanding cooperation at the interregional level.

Based on the results of all events organized within the framework of the Forum, the heads of delegations highly appreciated the interest of Austrian business circles in establishing trade cooperation with Central Asia, and also expressed their readiness to provide all possible assistance in expanding cooperation and concluding new investment and export contracts.

The forum participants agreed that each of the Central Asian countries has its own economic advantages, however, in regional terms, the Central Asian states represent a wider and more promising investment market with a population of 80 million. The developed transport and logistics infrastructure between the countries, which contributes to the successful implementation of investment projects, was noted.