The US Congressional Research Service published a report evaluating reform in Uzbekistan, the Foreign Ministry press service said.
According to the document, from the very beginning, the Donald Trump Administration has expressed strong support for Uzbekistan’s reform efforts. The importance of the Joint Statement of the Heads of State “Uzbekistan and the United States: the Beginning of a New Era of Strategic Partnership”, adopted during the official visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the USA in May 2018, is emphasized in the document.
The authors of the report note that US assistance to Uzbekistan is aimed at supporting reforms in the country, promoting the rule of law and further economic development, including agricultural diversification through the use of American technology. The assistance is also intended to improve border controls in order to ensure security and regional stability.
In this context, it is noted that the State Department requested $14.4 million for Uzbekistan for 2020 fiscal year (in 2017 – $10.6 million). Trade between the countries in 2017-2018 has more than doubled (from about $150 million to $300 million). US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross believes that “there are significant opportunities to strengthen trade and economic ties.”
Regarding economic liberalization in a positive way, it is reported that Uzbekistan has implemented reforms aimed at reducing the role of the state in favor of the private sector and attracting large foreign investments. The government gives high priority to improving the business environment in the country and optimizing public administration. The World Bank praised Uzbekistan’s “significant progress” in economic reforms.
The reform program of Uzbekistan arises interest and support from the US Congress, as these efforts improve the human rights issues in the country, open up new economic opportunities and position the republic as a partner of the United States in the development of regional cooperation and security. Restoring relations with neighboring countries contributes to the improvement of regional dynamics and the unification of Central Asia, which is a priority for US policy.
The report is concluded with a statement by the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells: “President Shavkat Mirziyoyev wants Uzbekistan to become a prosperous modern state - an example for the region - with a government that is accountable to its citizens and respects their rights, with constructive relationships with their neighbors and with an open economy that welcomes and protects foreign investment. None of these reforms will be easy, but they are all necessary, and the United States strongly supports them.”