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  • 29 Jan 2018 10:12 AM | Anonymous




    As a part of the economic system reform of the Republic of Uzbekistan, over the past period the Ministry for Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan (MFT) has initiated several policies on liberalizing foreign economic activity and increasing the export potential of the Republic.


    l. In foreign economic sphere, the strategy of expansion and strengthening of trade and economic relations with foreign countries was continued, firstly with China, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Germany.


    In 2017 the turnover of the Republic of Uzbekistan with foreign countries increased by 11,3%, incl. exports increased by 15,4%, imports - 7,2%. Volumes of trade has grown with all major foreign trade partners, incl. with China by 16,8%, Russia - 16,1%, Kazakhstan - 9,7%, Kyrgyzstan - 51,6%, Tajikistan - 20,2%, Afghanistan - 15,2%, South Korea - 27,1%, Turkey - 31,8%, Germany - 15,9% and others.


    For the first time in the history of modem Uzbekistan, joint production of domestic products was launched abroad, assembly production of cars of JSC “GM Uzbekistan” has started in Kazakhstan, and the similar projects on establishing industrial assembly of cars, agricultural machinery, electrical products, construction materials and textiles are being implemented in Kyrgyzstan.


    2. During 2017 there were 21 top level visits, 700 documents were signed in the trade, economic and investment spheres for a total of about USD 60,0 billion, including USD 11,0 billion trade contracts.


    3. All export restrictions have been removed: the procedure for exporting goods without prepayment and guarantee obligations, expansion of tax benefits for exports has been introduced. Unnecessary and outdated permitting procedures have been eliminated.


    The compulsory sale of foreign currency earnings, which in fact was a tax on exports, has also been eliminated.


    The rates of import customs duties and excise tax on food products, imported consumer goods, and commodities used in the manufacture of finished products have been reduced drastically. As a result, the arithmetic average rate of customs duty in Uzbekistan became 6,45%.


    4. Over the past period, more than 950 new enterprises have been involved in export activities, with exports amounting to over USD 0,6 billion, 118 new types of goods exported, the geography of supplies expanded to 62 new markets.


    The share of high added value finished goods in the export of the Republic of Uzbekistan increased from 28,5% to 34,5%, export of cars grew by 3,3 times, electric and cable products -1,7 times, pharmaceuticals - 1,2 times, textile – 1,3 times.


    The Ministry for Foreign Trade is working on trade expansion measures through establishing trading houses (with show-rooms) in foreign countries.


    Today more than 1000 trading houses are operating abroad, out of which 75 have been established in 2017, including 26 in the countries of Central Asia.


    In 2017 domestic enterprises have taken part in more than 80 international exhibitions and fairs in 20 countries of the world, we have signed export contracts and agreements amounting to USD 1,36 billion.


    At the same time, in accordance with the Five priority areas of Uzbekistan's Development strategy for 2017-2021, and in order to further increase export volumes, involve new enterprises in export and develop export of new products, based on integrated marketing research, MFT has developed a Concept on development of export activities of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2018-2022. According to this Concept, the Ministry is expecting an increase in exports of the Republic of Uzbekistan by 2022 to the level of up to USD 30 billion, or 2,6 times more than current export indicators.


    5. In order to reduce the transport expenditure component in overall export of goods, Uzbekistan has received discounts of up to 40% on the transportation of mineral fertilizers, cotton fiber, fruit and vegetable products and non-ferrous metals across the territories of Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran.


    As part of the formation of efficient and reliable alternative transport and transit corridors, a pilot auto rally on the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China road corridor was organized (the core direction of BRI), and the first meeting of the working committee of the Ashgabat agreement was organized for the practical implementation of the international transport and transit corridor «Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman».

  • 29 Jan 2018 10:10 AM | Anonymous


    Kazakh companies boost cooperation with Boeing, GE and Pfizer

    Astana Times, 25 January 2018

    ASTANA – Air Astana, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), SCAT and Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund will be purchasing $2.5 billion in goods and services from such American companies as Boeing, Chevron, GE (General Electric) Digital and GE Transportation. The agreements were made during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s recent official visit to the United States.

    The $1.3-billion agreement between Boeing and Kazakh airlines will support creating 7,100 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. In particular, SCAT Airlines ordered six Boeing-737 MAX 8 aircraft. Taking into account the planned delivery of the first aircraft in March, they will be the inaugural 737 MAX models owned and operated in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region, expanding SCAT’s regional and international network. In addition, Air Astana has confirmed its commitment, in accordance with the terms of the existing contract, to purchase three 787 Dreamliner aircraft with scheduled delivery in 2021.

    GE and KTZ concluded two new strategic initiatives estimated at almost $900 million which will support or create 3,500 American jobs. GE Transport will develop and produce up to 300 shunting locomotives for KTZ which will be delivered in 2019. The company also signed an 18-year agreement to provide services for the maintenance and support of 175 GE Evo passenger locomotives owned by KTZ since 2018. The deal will include expanding KTZ’s main railway production in the Kazakh capital.

    Pfizer signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan to possibly implement a project to localise production of secondary packaging of high-tech medical products. If the decision is positive, the project may include measures to improve the cold chain system to transport and store Kazakh medicine.

    Kazakhstan and the U.S. recognise the importance of developing trade relations in the agricultural sector and will continue to explore opportunities to expand cooperation, including through joint agricultural research. The study helps both countries work towards achieving broad, safe food security.

    Boeing is an American multinational corporation that designs and manufactures aircraft, rotorcraft, rockets, and satellites. The company is one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers and is the second-largest defence contractor in the world. It is also considered to be the largest U.S. exporter by dollar value.

    GE is a U.S.-based multinational conglomerate operating in aviation, digital technologies, energy connections, scientific research, healthcare, lighting, oil and gas, power engineering, renewable energy, transportation, pharmaceutical, automotive and software development.

    Pfizer is an American pharmaceutical corporation considered to be one of the world’s largest in the field. It develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, providing them throughout the world.

    All restrictions dropped on Kazakh airline flights to EU Astana Times, 25 January 2018

    ASTANA – All restrictions have been dropped on Kazakh airline flights to European Union (EU) countries, according to Minister for Investment and Development Zhenis Kassymbek. Five domestic carriers (Air Astana, Comlux, KazAirJet, Prime Aviation and SCAT) are cleared for take-off.

    The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) commission audited aviation security Nov. 22-30, completing a comprehensive check of the airport security system. According to preliminary estimates, ICAO experts note Kazakhstan has made significant progress and serious improvements are expected in the organisation’s rating indicators. The official results will be published by Feb. 1.

    “Within the President’s 100 Concrete Steps plan, the transition to the British model of state regulation of the industry is planned (step 68). This will make it possible to meet the requirements of ICAO for the availability of qualified inspectors and achieve the goal of 80 percent in terms of flight safety,” Kassymbek told a recent government meeting.

    He added the 72-hour visa-free regime introduced in June during EXPO 2017 for Chinese citizens who transit through the Astana and Almaty airports by Kazakh airlines was recently extended through the end of 2018. To further develop transit potential, a similar regime is being worked out for transit citizens from India.

    Kazakh Minister for Investment and Development Zhenis Kassymbek

    To date, Kazakhstan has nearly completed modernising the air transport infrastructure, as 15 runways and 11 terminals have been reconstructed in the years since independence. To develop small aircraft, constructing and reconstructing five airfields with a hard surface and 11 aerodromes with ground covering is envisioned.

    “In total, Kazakhstan airports serviced 14.2 million passengers in 2017, which is 17 percent more than in 2016 (about 12.2 million passengers). Last year, as part of the execution of the state programme Nurly Zhol, the construction of a new terminal at Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport in Astana was completed, which will allow Astana to be developed as a regional hub in Central Asia,” said Kassymbek.

    Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev noted the issue of civil aviation development is very relevant and important. At present, the domestic civil aviation infrastructure has been brought to international standards. He added an 800,000-person increase in passenger traffic is planned for 2018.

    Sagintayev instructed the Ministry of Investment and Development together with other interested agencies to consider introducing a 72-hour visa-free regime for Indian citizens. He also directed relevant state bodies to regulate and reduce tariffs for airport service provisions if the action does not contradict domestic antimonopoly legislation. Control over executing the instructions is assigned to First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin.

    Kazakhstan ranks second in ensuring flights safety among CIS states, 23 January 2018

    Kazakhstan ranks second in ensuring the safety of flights among the CIS countries, Kazakh Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kasymbek said at government meeting on January 23.

    The country is a full-fledged participant of the world aviation market, according to the official.

    "In 2016, an ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] safety audit was conducted and 74 percent of compliance with requirements was confirmed. Today, among the CIS countries, we are the second in this indicator and the 73rd among the countries participating in ICAO. Over the years Air Astana has become the region's leader in aviation transportation. For the last six years, the company ranked first as the best company in Central Asia and India and has one of the youngest aviation parks in the age of 6-8 years. At the same time, we are working towards ensuring that Kazakhstan's aviation meets 80 percent of ICAO requirements by 2020. Thus, it will enter the 51st aviation administration of the world,” he noted.

    He informed that according to the results of the last year the growth of air transportation by the Kazakh companies was 21 percent.

    “This is the best indicator for all the years of independence. Expo played an important role. Transit of passengers through Kazakhstan grew by almost 30 percent. Freight transportation by air increased by 24 percent,” Kasymbek noted.

    The ministry set a task to increase the transit flow through the republic up to 1.6 million passengers, the volume of aviation works - by 30 percent, and to double the volume of cargo transportation by air before 2020, according to the minister.

    Earlier, the Civil Aviation Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Investment and Development announced the launch of a number of international flights in Kazakhstan in 2018. Moreover, the committee will conduct 59 certifications and 434 inspections of air transport enterprises in 2018 in order to control the safety of flights.

    In 2017, ten new international routes were opened, including by foreign carriers (Finn Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Wizz Air, Air China) in direction of Warsaw, Budapest, Helsinki, Beijing and Batumi as well as Kazakhstan airlines to destinations of Xi'an, Kiev, Minvody, Yerevan and Delhi.

    At the same time, 20 flights a week were added to the current flight in eleven destinations, that is to Bishkek, Istanbul, Beijing, London, Seoul, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Omsk, St. Petersburg, and Tashkent.

    There have been several crashes including the one on October 3, 2017, that killed five people in Kazakhstan. At the time, an Antonov An-28 ambulance plane fell near Almaty. On August 10, a training aircraft Tecnam 2002 collapsed in the Almaty region and two people were killed.

    A similar catastrophe occurred on July 25 as a two-seater private plane crashed. As a result, a pilot was killed and a passenger was injured. Almost a month before that, the Yak-12 aircraft, owned by the airline Kazavia, crashed, and two people died.

    Kazakhstan has airports in Shimkent, Atbasar, Karaganda, Kyzyl-Orda, Balkhash, Burundai, Zaisan, Petropavlovsk, Semipalatinsk, Ust-kamenogorsk, Uralsk, Taldy-Kurgan, Kokshetau, Pavlodar, Zhezkazgan, Atyrau, Zhambyl, Zhairem, Ekibastuz, Almaty, Aktau, Kostanay, Aktyubinsk, Arkalyk, and Astana cities.

    Kazakhstan's existing airlines are Air Astana, Air Company MEGA, Avia Jaynar, Bek Air, Berkut Air, Euro-Asia Air, Excellent Glide, Irtysh-Air, SCAT, Semeyavia, Zhetysu, and Zhezkazgan Air.

  • 22 Jan 2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    More than 20 agreements on cooperation in investment, trade and economy were signed during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to Washington, his press service said on Wednesday.

    "Within the framework of the head of state’s official visit, more than 20 commercial documents about cooperation in investment, trade and economy were signed, with an aim to carry out projects in aviation and space research, petrochemical and agricultural sectors, as well as infrastructure development projects, worth about $7 billion in total," the press service said in a statement.

    Three intergovernmental agreements were signed during the visit.

    The US Department of State said that as a result of the president’s visit to Washington, Kazakhstan purchased US goods and services worth $2.5 billion in total. The sides also set to develop bilateral trade, which stood at $1.9 billion in 2016.

    "During the visit, numerous commercial contracts and documents were concluded, including new agreements between The Boeing Company, GE Transportation, GE Digital, Chevron, Air Astana, KazTemirZholy, SCAT Airlines, and the Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund for the purchase of US products and services valued at over $2.5 billion," the Department of State said.

    According a fact sheet, released by the US Department of State and the Kazakh president’s press service, the country’s air carriers signed agreements with Boeing worth $1.3 billion. "During their visit, the two leaders celebrated two separate deals between Boeing and Kazakh airlines totaling over $1.3 billion, sustaining an estimated 7,100 direct and indirect US jobs," the statement reads.

    Specifically, Kazakh air carrier SCAT Airlines ordered six Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes. With the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in March 2018, these will be the first 737 MAXs owned and operated in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In addition, Kazakhstan’s flagship air carrier Air Astana affirmed its commitment, under the terms of an existing contract, to purchase three 787 Dreamliners, which are scheduled for delivery in 2021.

    Nazarbayev’s official visit to the United States began on Tuesday and will last through Thursday. During his visit, the Kazakh leader is expected to visit New York, where he will chair a high-level UN Security Council debate on confidence-building measures in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on January 18.

    Kazakh economy minister: inflation rate won’t exceed 7 percent this year

    Astana Times, 13 January 2018

    Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov said the inflation rate will stay within the projected corridor of 5-7 percent this year. He discussed the preventive measures to curb inflation which the government will take by the end of 2018.

    Suleimenov noted the inflation rate was 7.1 percent in 2017, when it was supposed to stay within the 6-8 percent corridor. He answered journalists’ questions about high prices for some types of fruits and vegetables in winter, saying Kazakhstan still has a problem with seasonal supply and demand.

    “We can’t provide the same volume of offers for vegetables and fruits in December, January, February and March as in July, August and September. Therefore, this particular seasonal surge has been observed in our country at all times,” he said.

    At the same time, he noted the Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture are actively engaged in expanding the supply of fruits and vegetables. In particular, a great deal of work is underway to increase inventories, the number of warehouses and wholesale centres and wholesale distribution and trade in all major cities and towns.

    The Ministry of National Economy has also proposed reducing intermediary links, although Suleimenov emphasised there is no need to categorically dispose of all mediators.

    “Trade intermediation is absolutely a normal economic activity, because not every farmer, not every peasant farm is able to deliver and produce its products on the shelves of bazaars and shopping centres at a distance of 100-200 kilometres. Mediation is just right for this,” he said.

    The main thing, he noted, is that it does not become a dependent situation.

    “Right now, our committee for regulation of natural monopolies and the protection of competition has legal levers: these are turn-over penalties and the withdrawal of monopoly income. While this year we did not stir anything, we will closely monitor the development of the situation,” he added.

    The December inflation rate was 0.7 percent compared to the previous month and 7.1 percent year-on-year compared to 2016, according to the Ministry of National Economy statistics committee.

    “One of the important trends of the past year was the slowdown of inflationary processes. Throughout the year, inflation was within the 6-8 percent target corridor of the National Bank and, as a whole, showed a downward trend. As a result of November, the consumer price growth index was 7.3 percent, which is lower compared to the end of last year – 8.5 percent,” said National Bank chair Daniyar Akishev.

    Prices for confectionery rose 10.7 percent in 2017 and horsemeat and fresh fish prices grew 9.8 and 9.4 percent, respectively. The prices for sugar dropped 19.5 percent and sunflower oil by 9.9 percent.

    Diesel fuel prices rose 31.8 percent last year, gasoline (17.6 percent), coal (17.4 percent) and liquefied gas (8.6 percent). Prices for healthcare services increased 7.9 percent, legal services (7 percent) and entertainment and culture programmes (6.9 percent).

    Green energy to satisfy electricity demand in East Kazakhstan Astana Times, 17 January 2018

    Solar installations, wind generators and a hydroelectric power station will be launched this year in the East Kazakhstan region.

    “These projects are implemented to develop the green economy, one of the main aspects of EXPO 2017. The idea of constructing such power stations is particularly relevant in East Kazakhstan since the region has considerable resource potential and all the necessary prerequisites,” said East Kazakhstan Akim (Governor) Danial Akhmetov.

    Clean energy stations are to be built in the Zharma, Ulan and Zyryanovsk districts.

    The construction of hydroelectric power station on Turgusun River in the Zyryanovsk district is in full swing. The average annual electricity output is estimated to be 79.8 million kilowatt hours and the total cost of the project is 11.6 billion tenge (US$35.4 million).

    Wind generating stations are to be completed in the Shar and Zhangiztobe villages in Zharma district. Another wind power plant is to be constructed in the Tainty village of the Ulan district with a production capacity of 25 megawatts per year.

    In Zhangiztobe village, the construction of a solar power station is also coming to an end. The facility, with a price tag of 17.5 billion tenge (US$53.4 million), is capable of producing 30 megawatts a year. This project is included in the list of energy producing organisations of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

    “The akims (mayors) of Zharma, Zyryanovsk and Ulan districts should monitor the implementation of these projects, hold monthly meetings and provide necessary support,” said Akhmetov.

    This year, renewable energy will meet the electricity needs of the East Kazakhstan region and its neighbouring districts.
  • 17 Jan 2018 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Ukraine’s IT exports should grow by 25% this year, to $4.5 billion, the IT Ukraine Association predicts. Last year, growth was 20% to $3.6 billion, the industry group says. It says that the sector employs 116,000 specialists and pays about $600 million in taxes.

    Yuzhmash will supply 20 rocket engines to the European Space Agency through 2020, the Dnipro-based company reports. The engines are used in Vega rockets which launch satellites. Since 2013, Ukrainian engines have powered 11 rockets, which placed 26 satellites for 20 customers into orbit.

    Ukraine’s central bank says an investigation by Kroll Inc. confirmed fraud at Privatbank that caused a loss of at least $5.5 billion before the country’s biggest lender was nationalized one year ago. The National Bank of Ukraine hired the American corporate investigations firm to study Privatbank’s operations during the decade before the December 2016 nationalization. The investigation blamed a ‘bank within the bank’ for the fact that more than 95 percent of borrowing was to parties related to the former shareholders and their affiliates. Citing the Kroll study, the central bank charged Tuesday that Privatbank “was subjected to a large, coordinated money-laundering scheme and bank fraud with the characteristics of a pyramid scheme.” Last month, London’s High Court granted a worldwide freeze against $2.5 billion of assets held by Privatbank’s ex-owners, Ukrainian billionaires Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov.

    Today, lawyers for the new management of PrivatBank will argue in the Economic Court of Dnipropetrovsk for the bank’s $65 million claim against Dniproavia, a bankrupt airline once controlled by Igor Kolomoisky.

    Farm production in Ukraine decreased by 2.7% last year, compared to 2016, reports the State Statistics Service. The decline came after a 6.3% jump in 2016.

    Production of grapes for wine, grew by 7% last year, slowing down after a 31% jump in 2016, the State Statistics Service reports. In southern Ukraine, the big growth regions this year were Odesa with a 24% growth in grape production and Kherson which recorded a 30% jump.

    Ukraine is preparing tenders to sell 20 large state companies, including 68% of Zaporozhye Aluminum Smelter, 99.567% of Odessa Port Plant and 99.995% of Sumykhimprom and five regional energy companies, Vitaly Trubarov, head of the State Property Fund, writes on Facebook. At the same time, Rada, deputies are to start debating a new privatization law this week.

    A 6-hectare site near Chernobyl is about to put for tender for a 30-year-lease, the State Property Fund reports. The Fund says it already has one proposal, from a company that wants to build a 3M solar power plant.

    Ukraine almost cut in half its consumption of anthracite coal last year, a cut prompted by Kyiv’s boycott of coal from secessionist controlled mines Increased nuclear power production saved 2.3 million tons of coal, and a switch to gas coal saved another 1.8 million tons of anthracite, Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Kistion said.

    Ukraine has enough proven natural gas reserves to guarantee production at current rates through 2040, reports Yaroslav Klymovych, chair of Nadra Ukrainy, the state geological survey company. Reserves available for production amount to 453 billion cubic meters. However, he said 10 times that volume could be identified if Ukraine undertook a nationwide survey program using modern technology.

    Ukraine nearly doubled exports of scrap metal last year, to 486,500 tons. Most of the scrap goes to Turkey and Moldova for the production of new steel, according to the Ukrainian Association of Secondary Metals.

    Ukraine increased its butter exports to the EU nearly seven times, taking second place after long term supplier New Zealand. The EU imported 2,300 tons of butter from Ukraine. Perhaps pulled along by the export surge, domestic butter prices jumped 27.6% last year, well above Ukraine’s overall inflation rate of 13.6%.

    The Eva drugstore chain expanded by one third last year, opening 154 new stores across Ukraine, according to the owner, Rush LLC of Dnipro. Employing 7,600 people, Rush saw its profit during the first three quarters of last year increase to $6 million.

    As part of the fight against the shadow economy, Ukraine will require that all merchants have point of sale card terminals within two years. Customers will have the option of paying with cash or card. The new rule will extend terminals to 183,000 new businesses, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry calculates.

    The Financial Times reports that Ukraine’s push to regulate cryptocurrencies is prompted by worries “that exploitation of the digital assets by criminals and geopolitical adversaries presents a growing national security risk.” The article quotes a government statement: “The lack of external and internal control over the cryptocurrencies’ turnover, and anonymity of payments, create prerequisites for their use in order to legalize criminal assets [and] to pay for prohibited goods, in particular, drugs and weapons.” This unregulated means of payment could mean, the government said, that cryptocurrencies are being used to “provide for financing of terrorism, in particular, in the occupied territories of Ukraine.”

    As the Ukrainian banking sector stabilized last year, the closing of bank branches slowed to 8%, half the 2016 percent closure rate of 16%. Today, Ukraine has 9,489 bank branches, according to the National Bank of Ukraine. By shuttering 443 branches, Oschadbank accounted for about half of last year’s closings.

    In advance of a visit to Kyiv by Albania’s Foreign Minister next month, Ukraine is ready to discuss a free trade pact with Albania, says Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. The western Balkan nation is an official candidate for accession to the EU. Ukraine has 16 free trade agreements, covering 45 countries. Historically wary of Moscow, “Albania is one of the Balkan countries that unquestionably support Ukraine in countering Russian aggression,” Pandeli Majko, Albania’s Minister of State for Diaspora, said after meeting Klympush-Tsintsadze here. About 3,000 Albanians live in Ukraine. Last year, bilateral trade was $22 million.

    New state support will allow the production of over 120 films this year in Ukraine, says President Poroshenko. He writes on Facebook: “A bright future awaits Ukrainian cinema!"

  • 16 Jan 2018 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    President Poroshenko’s office rejects IMF criticism of his draft law to create an anti-corruption court, saying Monday evening: “All discussions about certain norms must be held within the legal framework in the Ukrainian parliament." Earlier in the day, news outlets published a letter to Ihor Rainin, head of the Poroshenko administration, from Ron van Rooden, IMF mission chief for Ukraine. “We have serious concerns about the draft law,” van Rooden wrote June 11, referring to the draft law. “Several provisions are not consistent with the authorities’ commitments under Ukraine’s IMF-supported program.” Analyst Timothy Ash writes: “[Poroshenko] obviously does not think Ukraine needs cheap IMF financing. It always amazed me to read analysis suggesting IMF disbursements in Q1 or earlier. As is, Ukraine will be lucky to get any IMF disbursements this side of elections next year."

    The hryvnia weakened by 1.6% over the first two weeks of January to UAH 28.5 to the dollar. This comes after the national currency only weakened by 3.1% during all of 2017, it’s most stable performance in four years. To prevent exchange rate spikes, the National Bank of Ukraine has injected $53.5 million into the banking system this month. Concorde Capital’s Evgeniya Akhtyrko writes: “By the end of 2018, we expect the hryvnia will touch UAH 29 to the dollar on the back of further current account deficit widening.”

    Rents in upscale Kyiv shopping centers rebounded last year by 23%, to $960 per square meters per year, the highest jump in the history of the local index, reports Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate consultancy. At the same time, vacancies dropped by 6.5 percentage points, “a record drop in the annual vacancy rate,” JLL reports. Pressing the market, real wages in Kyiv increased last year by 11.3% and, for the first time in recent memory no new shopping centers opened. Due to construction delays, five new shopping centers are to open in 2018, adding 114,000 square meters of new retail space. Also, this year, Kyiv is to see several new international brand stores: De Facto, Decathlon, FLO, H & M, IKEA, Koton, and Zara Home.

    The average sale price for a Kyiv apartment fell 6% last year, to $977/square meter, consulting company SV Development tells UNIAN. While prices fell across the city, the lowest drop was in Podil, where prices fell by 4.4% to $905/square meter.

    Nuclear power production increased by 5.7% in 2017, Energoatom reports. About half of Ukraine’s power comes from its four nuclear power plants, a ratio topped in Europe only by France. Last year, the nation’s 15 nuclear reactors produced 85 billion kWh.

    Despite foreign press reports that imply that Ukraine has a high crime rate, the number of murders is one third the level of 20 years ago, Viacheslav Abroskin, deputy chief of Ukraine's National Police writes on Facebook. In 1997, 4,529 people were murdered in Ukraine, three times as many as the 1,551 murders recorded in 2017. He wrote: "In 2017, culprits were identified in 1,387 out of 1,551 murder cases, while 466 cases were solved that had been dragging over the years." Last November, The Wall Street Journal started a feature story: “Bodies are piling up in Kiev...” Last week, The New York Times published a lengthy story on the murder of Iryna Nozdrovska, the human rights lawyer

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:23 AM | Anonymous

    Xinhua, January 11, 2018

    Crude oil imports from Kazakhstan to China through a transnational pipeline hit a new record high last year, PetroChina West Pipeline Company said Thursday.

    The China-Kazakhstan pipeline carried 12.3 million tonnes of crude oil into the world's second-largest economy in 2017, up 23.2 percent year on year, the pipeline operator said.

    The crude oil production cuts by OPEC members in early 2017 drove up crude prices, and oil producers in Kazakhstan then increased exports, it said.

    The pipeline runs more than 2,800 kilometers from the city of Atyrau to Atasu in Kazakhstan via the Alataw pass in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company, one of China's major petrochemical producers. It became operational in 2006.

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    Anurag Thukral, CEO of Australia's STARIN Investments and Developments, says that the State-of-the-Nation Address of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev "The New Development Opportunities amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution" will pave the way for making Kazakhstan one of the world's industrial and business centers, Kazinform special correspondent in China reports.

    "The priority tasks as outlined in 10 important areas by the President Nazarbayev in his Address is a great vision of a great leader of Kazakhstan. It shows how a strong dream and a powerful vision of a true leader paves a strong foundation to build a strong nation. Going through the priority program one can easily see that this program will benefit and improve the life of an ordinary Kazakh.

    As this program gets implemented Kazakhstan will be a leading country internationally and every citizen will be a proud Kazakh," he said. In sharing the vision of President Nazarbayev, as implementation of the President's priority program unfolds, the Australian businessman noted that it is easy to see Kazakhstan industry and its businesses becoming leaders.

    The program would lead to increased labour productivity, improved quality, would encourage new business start-ups and enhance industrial output through modern and innovative technologies. "This initiative of the President will definitely make Kazakhstan an industrial and business force which is strong competent and market leader.

    Development and smart management of infrastructure and transportation systems as initiated by the President would enhance international confidence, increase connectivity and ensure timely delivery of goods and services. Efficient material handling and lowered transportation costs would increase profitability and export," he underlined.

    According to Anurag Thukral, President Nazarbayev has his eyes on making Kazakhstan a smart nation. A smart nation would use its resources and energy efficiently, reduce operational and management costs and overheads. "A greater connectivity would encourage international and national businesses to have improved confidence. An efficient and reliable connectivity and access to the world financial, economic, political and latest technological systems would keep Kazakh businesses in line with the world trends. The vision of President Nazarbayev for a smart nation would place Kazakhstan on the world map in gold," he said.

    Mr. Thukral highlighted that the President is asking Kazakh administration and public bodies to effectively participate in nation building by simplifying administrative procedures. "He is encouraging innovation and development of public policies that would encourage businesses and would improve life of the citizens. An efficient administration would demonstrate national pride, and adopting systems that demonstrate integrity would improve confidence of ordinary citizen when working with public bodies. The President wants administration to be accountable of their actions and prepare for self-governance. This is a great initiative that shows that the President's policies are down to earth and he understands the needs and the difficulties of a citizen," the Australian businessman added.

    He noted that President Nazarbayev has placed a great emphasis on health and welfare of citizens of Kazakhstan as a healthy nation is a strong nation. "When the top leader of the nation has his focus on improving the life and living standard of its citizens, the citizens would have greater pride and passion, the citizen would give back to the nation by staying within the country. An improved healthy environment, greater employment opportunities, improved medical systems, healthy living and enhanced possibilities of growth and satisfaction of achieving professionally and financially will encourage the young generation to stay in Kazakhstan. The retained young talented workforce would be the biggest and most valuable national asset Kazakhstan will have for all times. I can clearly see that the implementation of the President's program will make every Kazakh patriotic," Anurag Thukral summarized.

  • 12 Jan 2018 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    Canadian exporters with long histories of doing business in Russia are urging the federal government to help them compete with foreign rivals that they insist are profiting from Ottawa’s particularly rigid approach to international sanctions.

    Companies say they’re losing ground because, unlike other countries that have imposed sanctions directed at Moscow, Canada went a step further by removing its export credit agency from the Russian market in 2014.

    The absence of Export Development Canada’s services, which include important supports like trade insurance, has led to a retreat of Canadian business from Russia.

    Canadian firms say the vacuum has helped open up new opportunities for competitors from places like the United States, Europe and Japan, where export credit agencies continue to support local businesses with interests in Russia, despite similar sanctions by their governments.

    While in most cases the issue is overshadowed by apprehension over NAFTA, it remains a key worry for some Canadian sectors. Canada’s exports to Russia — $600 million in 2016 — pale when compared to bigger partnerships like the U.S.

    But for some Canadians, Russia was a top market until the federal government called on EDC to withdraw its services.

    Industry associations call it an uneven playing field for Canadian firms that export products to Russia — everything from toasters to construction material to agricultural equipment.

    The president of the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada discussed the issue this week with some of her members at a major farm show in Saskatoon. Leah Olson said Russia was a significant market for Canadian farming equipment, particularly since the countries share similar harsh climates.

    “With Canadian firms having to pull back … they’ve been seeing lots of their competitors now in the region,” said Olson, whose group represents nearly 300 manufacturers and suppliers.

    Ben Voss, president and CEO of a Saskatchewan-based agricultural manufacturer, said up until 2014, there were years when more than half of the sales from his company, Morris Industries Ltd., were in Russia.

    The country remains important to his firm because it still has 1,000 customers there, but sales to Russia now represent less than 10 per cent of his business.

    “The European countries and even the Americans, ironically, are imposing sanctions — very strict sanctions — but then they’re still allowing lots of their domestic, economic activity to continue unprohibited,” Voss said in an interview.

    “Whereas Canada seems to think that it was necessary to say, ‘We’re putting sanctions in and then we’re going to go one step further.”‘

    Voss, who has raised the issue directly with International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said he has the impression the government is open to finding a solution.

    “It’s just a very delicate issue,” Voss said. “I think the previous government was much more hardlined on this.”

    Champagne is aware of industry concerns about the uneven application of sanctions and how firms have been stung by the discrepancies, according to a recently released briefing note.

    The document, obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act, was prepared for Champagne last spring ahead of a meeting with the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association, which promotes trade and investment in the region.

    “Canada is working in close co-ordination with its partners in order to maintain sanctions against Russia in response to illegal actions in Ukraine and Syria,” read suggested speaking points for Champagne in the memo.

    “We don’t intend to put sticks in the spokes of legitimate businesses, although we recognize that sometimes sanctions have this involuntary effect…. Unfortunately, there have been some involuntary negative repercussions on Canadian companies. This was not our objective.”

    If pressed on why EDC pulled its services for the Russian market, the document recommended Champagne respond by saying he didn’t know when they would be reinstated. The note also suggested he explain that Canada is continually speaking with its G7 and European partners to ensure, as much as possible, that they have a co-ordinated approach when it comes the sanctions.

    “However, individual export credit agencies are taking directions from their respective governments and we are aware that they are allowing these business transactions to continue,” the document said.

    Phil Taylor, a spokesman for EDC, said the agency was instructed in 2014 to stop conducting business in Russia — and any change to this position would come at the direction of the trade minister.

    Sebastien Dakin, the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association’s director for Ottawa and Montreal, said in an email that some companies have worked for many years developing their business relationships in Russia.

    “In many cases, the business is threatened if not already lost, and will not come back easily,” Dakin wrote.

    “This service is really helpful for companies, mainly when you do not have permanent representation on the ground. At the moment, Canadian trade commissioners are confined to a reactive role and companies are pretty much on their own, which is far from ideal on a far and challenging market such as Russia.”

  • 05 Jan 2018 12:40 PM | Anonymous

    Uzbekistan will purchase 5,778 units of equipment for agricultural needs of the country in the first half of 2018.

    Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree “On additional measures to further improve the technical equipment of agriculture” on January 4.

    The document notes that the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources jointly with Uzagrotehsanoatholding JSC determined the primary need for the supply of modern arable and tilled tractors, combine harvesters, plows, seeders and other agricultural equipment for the spring agrotechnical work in 2018 in the amount of only 5,778 units, including 758 arable tractors, 1,500 tilled tractors, 330 horticultural tractors.

    In addition, 2,790 units of hinged and trailed agricultural machinery, as well as 400 combine harvesters will be also purchased, according to the decree.

    In particular, it is planned to purchase John Deere, Belarus, T-7060, T-6070 tractors, CASE, Vector, Dominator 130 grain harvesters, plows, seeders, sprayers, cultivators, etc.

    The delivery of agricultural equipment is carried out at the expense of credits of Agrobank, own funds of farms and machine and tractor parks, as well as loans provided to machine and tractor parks from Uzagrotehsanoatholding and Uzagroservis.

    The Uzbek leader recommended Agrobank to issue loans to farms and machine and tractor parks that are part of Uzagroservis JSC for a period of 10 years at a rate of 5 percent per annum under security (guarantee, pledge of property) of Uzagrotehsanoatholding and organizations in its composition.

    Uzbekistan's economy depends heavily on agricultural production. Last year the volume of gross agricultural production in Uzbekistan reached 47.4 trillion soums. As of January 1, 2017, the number of operating farms exceeded 132,000 and dekhkan farms - 4.7 million.

    In total, 8.2 million tons of grain, 2.9 million tons of potatoes, 11.2 million tons of vegetables, over 3 million tons of fruits and berries, 1.7 million tons of grapes, 2 million tons of melons and 2.9 million tons of raw cotton were produced in the country last year.

    Because of the risks associated with a one-crop economy as well as from considerations of food security for the population, Uzbekistan has been trying to diversify its production of other agricultural products, while reducing cotton production.

    The Central Asian nation intends to decrease production and public procurement of raw cotton up to 3 million tons by 2020.

    Thus, Uzbekistan aims to increase production of grain crops up to 8.5 million tons with the growth rate of 16.4 percent by 2020 due to optimization of lands and introduction of modern agriculture technologies. It is also planned to increase production of potatoes by 35 percent, other vegetables by 30 percent, fruits and grapes 21.5 percent, meat by 26.2 percent, milk by 47.3 percent, eggs by 74.5 percent and fish by 2.5 times.

  • 22 Dec 2017 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    Forbes has compiled ranking of the best countries for doing business. In the ranking, which assessed 53 countries on 15 criteria, Uzbekistan was ranked the 99th, between Lebanon and Iran.

    Uzbekistan is the world's fifth largest exporter of cotton and the seventh largest producer.

    Growth in Uzbekistan is mainly driven by public investment, while the export of natural gas, gold and cotton provide a significant share of foreign exchange earnings. Given the need to improve the investment climate, the government is taking additional steps to reform the business sector and remove obstacles to foreign investment in the country, experts note.

    The rating of the best countries for doing business evaluates the countries by various factors, which include: property rights, the degree of innovation, the level of taxation, technology, the level of corruption, freedom (personal, commercial and financial), bureaucracy and investor protection. All categories are equal in importance.