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Uzbekistan - Market overview

Trade and investment between Uzbekistan and Canada: 2014-2018

Bilateral merchandise trade in 2018: Canadian exports to Uzbekistan $6.3 million, Canadian imports from Uzbekistan $0.7 million (Source:  Statistics Canada)

Why Uzbekistan matters 

Sectoral opportunities in Uzbekistan

Agriculture

Uzbekistan’s agricultural sector is undergoing reforms aimed at progressively diversifying away from labour- and water-intensive cotton into higher value-added production and processing, including fruits and vegetables and livestock. Over the past few years, the Government of Uzbekistan has supported poultry and animal farming and encouraged increased mechanization as well as the adoption of new technologies in order to increase farmers’ productivity. This has created opportunities for agricultural machinery and equipment, irrigation technologies, greenhouses and related technologies, animal genetics (poultry as well as dairy and beef cattle), cold storage facilities, and processing equipment.

As Uzbekistan is progressively growing richer, thanks to its business- and investors-friendly reforms, the taste of its consumers is evolving in tandem with their increased means. Coupled with the recent relaxation of Uzbekistan’s visas regime, which helps increase the number of tourists and business visitors, consumption of fish and seafood, meat and other higher income agrifood products are rising, thus creating opportunities for Canadian exporters.

Education

Canada is a partner of choice in the education sector in Uzbekistan, the most populous country of Central Asia that counts over 700,000 high school and college graduates every year. Canadian institutions have the solutions and expertise, at both the vocational and higher levels, to contribute to the education and the professional skills development of the population. In recent years, the signing of several MoUs with some of Canada’s well-renowned universities, combined with the introduction of a new fully funded Study in Canada scholarship program by Global Affairs Canada in 2019, reinforces Canada’s position in the recruitment of foreign students from Uzbekistan.

Information and communication technology

In the context of its broad economic and social reforms, the Uzbek government is looking to find solutions for providing e-government services in all spheres of society and the economy, including regional development, agriculture, health, education and banking by using innovative technology. The government is also supporting the commercialization of technology and business growth, through the creation of innovation centers such as the Mirzo Ulugbek Innovation Center.

Mining

While currently dominated by state-owned enterprises, the sector is expected to go through significant restructuring in the coming years, with the two main mining conglomerates (Almalyk Mining and Metallurgy Complex and Navoi Mining and Metallurgy Complex) expected to be partially privatized. The State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources (Goscomgeology) recently assumed responsibility for all geological surveying and mapping, creating opportunities for Canadian companies with technology and expertise in this area. Investment opportunities in the gold mining sector abound, particularly in the Navoi region.

Oil and Gas

Uzbekistan is the second largest natural gas producer in Central Asia, and is believed to have significant hydrocarbon reserves. Moreover, the Uzbek government has been undertaking reforms in this sector with a view to developing its energy resources and modernizing production. As a result, there could be increasing opportunities for Canadian technology and equipment providers in Uzbekistan as they take steps towards modernization. The anticipated restructuring and privatization of Uzbekneftegaz, the national holding company, may also provide additional opportunities for Canadian companies.

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