Uzbekistan to provide EU with statistics on sanctions busting

By Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent December 6, 2023

Uzbekistan has pledged to provide the European Union with statistical data to help assess the extent of the circumvention of sanctions, the EU's special envoy for sanctions, David O'Sullivan, told Gazeta.uz.

According to him, the EU respects Uzbekistan's sovereignty in non-alignment with sanctions restrictions against Russia. However, Uzbekistan can be used as a platform to circumvent sanctions, he stressed.

"We fully understand and respect the sovereignty of Uzbekistan, the fact that Uzbekistan does not want to be a party to this conflict [between Ukraine and Russia], take sides or apply sanctions adopted by the international coalition. But we have concerns that Uzbekistan could be used as a platform to circumvent or evade our sanctions. The Uzbek authorities have clearly stated that they do not want this," O'Sullivan said.

During the November visit, O'Sullivan met with representatives of the central bank's customs committee to discuss issues arising from the sanctions.

Because most European exports to Russia were subject to sanctions, there was a shift in trade with other countries, for example, the UAE.

"Thus, we are observing a trend of shifting trade, which previously went to Russia, and now finds its way to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Serbia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. And, of course, we are concerned that some goods from these countries end up in Russia," he said.

O'Sullivan noted that the EU has identified a list of 45 military goods that Brussels is trying to prevent entities from re-exporting to Russia from third countries, including Uzbekistan.

Moreover, Uzbekistan assured the EU of its unwillingness to be used as a platform to circumvent sanctions, in particular, goods that have military applications for the Russian military-industrial complex.

"We have seen some initial positive reactions that the re-export of these goods has been declining. But I must say that at the moment there is not enough statistical data. And as part of today's discussions, the Uzbek side has pledged to provide this data in the next few days," the special envoy added.

The European official also stressed that the EU does not seek to damage traditional trade between Uzbekistan and Russia. At the same time, he expressed concern about possible new forms of trade to circumvent sanctions.

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