Interview – Ambassador of Uzbekistan in Pakistan: Uzbek tourism is the fastest-growing industry

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – “Pakistan and Uzbekistan enjoy [an] exceptional bilateral relationship. Uzbekistan can be an excellent destination for Pakistani investors, traders, and industrialists as more than 4,200 foreign enterprises, including world-famous companies such as General Motors, MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu Motors, CNPC, Petronas, LG, Gazprom, Lukoil, Nestle, Coca-Cola, British-American Tobacco, Carlsberg, and many others are present in Uzbekistan by establishing huge industries.

“Pakistani entrepreneurs and farmers should explore possibilities of importing manufactured in Uzbekistan high-quality tractors, agriculture machinery, and heavy-duty trucks and buses that would help in improving agriculture productivity and transportation facilities in Pakistan. Uzbek tourism is the fastest-growing industry in the region and Pakistan can invest in any sector of the tourism industry of Uzbekistan.”

These views were expressed by His Excellency the Ambassador of Uzbekistan in Pakistan Furqat Sidiqov in an exclusive interview with the Chief Editor of the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency, Agha Iqrar Haroon.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was of the view that Uzbekistan is maintaining 8% growth rates over the last 11 years and investing a huge amount for human development, also as 59.1% of total State budget expenditure is allocated for the social sphere, including 33.7% for education during the current fiscal year. “At the same time, the costs of current maintenance and development of [the] education sector will be increased against the previous year by 16.3%,” he emphasized.

Talking about Pak-Uzbek relations, he said that Uzbekistan and Pakistan are tied with deep historical, religious, and cultural bonds, and Uzbekistan is keen to promote cooperation with Pakistan on regional security and combating against transnational threats. He added that Uzbekistan attached great importance to the expansion of the mutually-beneficial relations, including trade and economic, investment, and other areas.

“As you know, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, HE Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, had paid an official visit to the Republic of Uzbekistan on November 17-18, 2015, which was very successful and has opened a new page on Uzbekistan-Pakistan brotherly relations. The President of Uzbekistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan had a friendly, substantive, and constructive exchange of views and reached [a] common understanding on a wide range of issues to further deepen Uzbekistan-Pakistan relations in various fields and on international and regional issues of mutual interest,” he maintained.

He also mentioned that a Pak-Uzbek Forum was established in Pakistan in the year 2016 by a group of prominent people in Pakistan, including business, academic, and artistic communities with the support Uzbekistan and Pakistan relations.

He was of the view that the improving business attractiveness is an important component of economic advancement of each country, and Uzbekistan is among the top ten countries in gold reserves, natural gas, uranium, silver, copper, molybdenum, and other rare metals and is a net exporter of these natural materials. While telling natural resources of Uzbekistan, he stated that his country has more than 100 types of mineral resources and more than 2,800 deposits, and prospective shows of minerals are exposed.

When asked to mention the name of international groups investing in Uzbekistan, he said that numerous investment projects on high-tech industries are producing demand, and competitive production for foreign markets has been realized and implemented. “Projects such as the production of cars and engines together with ‘General Motors’ trucks with ‘MAN,’ the construction of Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex at Surgil deposit on gas processing and [the] production of polyethylene and polypropylene, [a] plant for the production of synthetic liquid fuel based on GTL technology in [the[ Kashkadarya region, organization of full-scale production of modern textile equipment from the Swiss company “Rieter,” and many others are the models of successful cooperation with foreign partners,” he added.