Discussion on the prospects to expand multifaceted cooperation between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan
On October 20 this year, Kabul hosted an expanded meeting of the heads of ministries and departments of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during the visit of the Government Delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Acting Minister of Industry and Trade Nisar Ahmad Goryani, Acting Minister of Transport Qudratullah Zaki, Acting Minister of Public Works Najibullah Yamin, as well as heads of other ministries and departments represented the Afgan side.
Top officials of the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Energy, Uzbekiston Temir Yullari JSC, etc. represented the Uzbek side.
During the meeting, the parties expressed mutual willingness to build a multifaceted partnership between the two states focused on industrial cooperation, trade, transport and energy.
They discussed the existing prerequisites for further expansion and diversification of industrial cooperation through the development and implementation of new joint projects in the most promising areas, such as textile, food, leather and footwear industries, production of automotive and agricultural machinery, food and construction materials. They also considered the implementation of already launched projects on the modernization of a number of industrial enterprises in Afghanistan.
The parties stressed the positive trends in the development of mutual trade. There is a 24% increase in commercial turnover only in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year. Here, they noted ample opportunities to further build mutual trade up through the full use of the economic potential of the two countries. In view of this, the meeting provided discussion on the promising proposals to eliminate existing barriers to trade and optimize conditions for foreign trade by Uzbek and Afghan companies. Particularly, the parties agreed to intensify the joint operation of relevant departments and ministries of the two countries to prepare for the signing by the end of this year of a draft Agreement on Preferential Trade between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
They also noted that the dynamics of mutual cargo transportation between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan demonstrates steady growth in contrast to a global decrease in international trade. During the period from January to September this year, the traffic by rail and road increased by 47 percent. According to the participants of the meeting, this indicates a significant potential for further strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation in the transport and logistics sector through coordinated actions to optimize the system of regulation of bilateral passenger and freight traffic and the implementation of joint infrastructure projects.
During the event, the Delegation of Uzbekistan participated in the signing of agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Asian Development Bank to finance the construction of the Surkhan-Puli-Khumri power line providing for the allocation of USD 110 million. The main part of funds will be spent to construction work to be made by Uzbek contractors. The corresponding contract for the construction of this transmission line between National Electric Grids of Uzbekistan SC and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat will be signed in the near future.
Direct dialogue between the heads of relevant ministries and departments provided a discussion of key agenda, development of mutually acceptable solutions, certain agreements on cooperation in the designated areas, further practical actions to implement joint initiatives, and development of a preliminary list of measures to be included in the joint Road Map for the multifaceted cooperation Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
After this extended meeting, all the participants expressed their firm confidence that the agreements reached during the event will significantly promote bilateral cooperation and will contribute to strengthening sustainable development in Central Asia.