Reset of Kazakh-Uzbek relations (REVIEW)
Permanent interstate dialogue on expanding the Kazakh-Uzbek ties contributes to strategic tasks and national interests of both sides. Dynamics of the relationship between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in late 2016 and early 2017 became very active. Evidence of strengthening of long-term strategic relations was the fact that Shavkat Mirziyoyev made the first visit as the Head of the Uzbek state to Kazakhstan.
It speaks about many things, and, first of all, about the reset of the development of the Kazakh-Uzbek relations and their transition to a new format. Since it is easy to notice that with the coming to power of the new Uzbek leader, relations between our countries have considerably brightened up. And the similar tendency inspires optimism and hope for further deepening of all-round cooperation between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The first steps to regional cooperation, they started in the 90's. Then the Contract on eternal friendship, and in 2013 - on strategic partnership was signed.
In 2 decades our countries achieved positive results in bilateral relations, and the dynamics of mutual contacts at various levels laid a strong basis for further development and deepening of fullfledged cooperation.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his speeches noted that in the relations with Uzbekistan "there are destabilizing potential and gunpowder".
However, under the guidance of Islam Karimov, the relations between our countries was difficult to call close and partnership, most likely, they had a "good-neighborly" character. Uzbekistan was less flexible, especially in relation to some states of Central Asia. Although in the last years of his life the ex-president of Uzbekistan showed interest in closer relations with Kazakhstan. There were different situations, but at an official level, both sides always tried to observe politesse in relation to each other. As they say in the East: "A neighbor is closer than any relative".
Back in 1990s and in the first half of 2000s, our republic did attempts to pursue a more active foreign policy in the region, trying to speed up the process of regional interaction on the most important issues, such as, for example, the creation of water and energy consortium. But everything remained on paper, as no large and working regional project can be realized without the participation of Uzbekistan, which didn’t show much interest to these initiatives.
But it is also it should be noted that the great foreign policy openness of Uzbekistan has for Kazakhstan not only clear advantages in the form of decrease in regional tension, appearance of a large multimillion consumer market, but also hidden minuses. Indeed, the transformation of Uzbekistan into the more open and investment-attractive state, on condition of realization of successful economic reforms, can in time deprive Kazakhstan of the image of an economic favorite in the region, which was mainly constructed around extraction of raw materials.
At the moment, the acting Uzbek Head of State demonstrated that Uzbekistan is aimed at reset of relations with its neighbors in the region. And, accordingly, Kazakhstan has a number of issues which require solution. In this regard, the meeting of the presidents was very urgent and timely. Within the framework of the visit issues on bilateral strategic partnership and further development were discussed. Questions on cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, the transport and logistics industry, interaction issues at the regional level, and much more were considered.
As a result of the visit, 13 different documents were signed, such as the Declaration on the deepening of strategic partnership, the Strategy of Economic Cooperation for 2017-2019, the amendments to the agreements on the avoidance of double taxation and road transport, the agreement on interregional cooperation, and cooperation at the level of the ministries of foreign affairs and defense.
The common economic space is created for the purpose of developing and implementing of joint programs to deepen economic integration between the states, assuming the free movement of goods, services, capitals and labor and ensures an agreed monetary, fiscal, customs and currency policy. And one of several organizations with more specific common goals and problems is Central Asian Cooperation (CAC), whose members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Russia.
The main outcome of Mirziyoyev's visit to Astana was the possible revival of the Central Asian union and, of course, the strengthening of cooperation in the economy. Uzbekistan thus has the opportunity to solve its transport and communication problems and expand its sales markets, including at the expense of the common market of the EEU, and Kazakhstan creates a certain counterbalance to the Eurasian Union.
Thus, within the framework of the official visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan, in Astana the Kazakh-Uzbek business forum was held, at which over 100 Uzbek companies from textile, clothing and footwear industry, mechanical engineering, food industry, construction and others were represented. From the Uzbek side, an exhibition of industrial and consumer goods of Uzbekistan was demonstrated. Entrepreneurs of both countries held talks in the B2B format. As the result, 92 documents totaling 840 million dollars were signed.
Also, one of the significant events of the business forum was that the governments of 2 countries were instructed to increase the volume of trade up to 5 billion dollars by 2020. After all, among the CIS countries, Uzbekistan ranks the 2nd after Russia in terms of indicators of mutual trade with Kazakhstan. One of the strategic directions of the Kazakh-Uzbek relations is the cooperation of the business of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in food and TCF industries. In these sectors, the Uzbek partners have wide experience, so, by cooperation, Kazakhstan will be able to enter the markets of the border countries.
On the whole, the development of relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has been developing considerably and is engaged in the revitalization of many issues. At the moment, the significant amount is at the moment already solved. In the future stabilization and improvement of our relationship which will promote the best progress of both states is expected.
The number of bilateral meetings and visits are also expected in the near future. In particular, the Kazakh delegation from among the representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry will visit Uzbekistan. In addition, the meeting of delegations of national railway operators is to take place. However, the first in the list of bilateral visits this year may be meetings at the level of the heads of regions. Thus, in April-March, 2 hokims of Navoi and Jizzakh regions are scheduled to visit Kazakhstan. The parties should discuss cooperation with entrepreneurs of South Kazakhstan within the framework of 2 free economic zones in Navoi and Jizzakh.
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