Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has ordered an acceleration of the country’s process for accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The process initially started as far back as 1994, but Tashkent froze it. In 2019, authorities resumed negotiations with WTO member countries as they prioritised an expansion of exports of finished products.
Several years ago, half of the country's exports were made up of cotton fibre, but Uzbekistan went on to abandon such shipments in favour of added-value goods. To date, the volume of Uzbek textile and ready-made clothing exports is in excess of $3bn per year.
Deliveries of finished products from Uzbekistan to European Union countries have increased 1.5 times since the country two years ago joined the EU’s generalised scheme of preferences plus (GSP+) system, under which tariffs on many imports from the member country are cut to zero. Members of the European Parliament recently declared their readiness to extend Uzbekistan’s participation in GSP+ until 2034.
WTO membership would expand Uzbekistan's opportunities to increase exports of finished goods.
"In the next three years, we plan to double the export of finished products. The only way to achieve this is to become a WTO member," Mirziyoyev said on April 14. "This will allow us to establish a fair trade system with 164 countries and gain stable markets."
Uzbekistan has held talks with more than 50 member countries of the WTO to date.
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