14:29 / 08.06.2023

Kristalina Georgieva calls Uzbekistan for speeding up WTO membership

While answering the question of Timur Ishmetov, the deputy adviser to the president, about 3 important directions for Uzbekistan, the IMF managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said that the membership in the World Trade Organization should be accelerated. 

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva held an open dialogue with students of higher education institutions in the Central Bank of Uzbekistan on June 7. Timur Ishmetov, the deputy adviser to the president, and the Chairman of the Central Bank, Mamarizo Nurmurodov, also attended the meeting.

At the event, Timur Ishmetov addressed the head of the IMF with a question about the organization’s view of ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan and asked for her opinion about three important areas for development.

“In your opinion, what would be the three areas that we need to focus on to keep the dynamism of reforms and to continue to grow in the coming years?” Ishmetov asked.

In response, Kristalina Georgieva said that business activities should be liberalized.

“Well, the number one prerequisite for strong growth is to continue to open up space for private entrepreneurship and to clear the remaining obstacles. The state still has a bigger role in the economy than it should have. I am not recommending that the state should completely step aside, but there are areas where entrepreneurs have better opportunities than the state, and state ownership is causing entrepreneurs to retreat from these areas,” he said.

The head of the IMF said that the second direction is to accelerate WTO membership.

“Secondly, you are currently determined to accelerate your accession to the World Trade Organization. For Uzbekistan, this is indeed important because you want to integrate into the world economy. Being in a competitive environment will be extremely beneficial for you. I think it's time to get closer to the finish line,” she said.

The third area mentioned by Ms. Georgieva is to be flexible in today's rapidly changing times, taking into account the risks that may arise as a result of different challenges.

“It is hugely important to recognize that in a fast-changing world, you need to have adaptability.

Instead of focusing on today's or yesterday's industries, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of future industries. 

320 days of the year are sunny in your country. It means an opportunity; there should be solar panels on every roof, but we still don't see them.

The digital economy is growing very fast. You may have opportunities in this field and other related areas that we are not yet aware of. Based on this, you need to create an innovative environment in your country and open the way for companies and individuals to take steps without fearing failure. If you can do that, if you can introduce innovations in areas that no one has yet progressed, that would be a huge achievement.

Of course, it will not be easy, there may be losses, but having the passion of "we can do it" is very important. Therefore, it is necessary to try to do things that have not been done yet. I have no doubt that there are people here who are capable of this,” said Kristalina Georgieva.

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