Thailand and Uzbekistan Eye Increased Mutual Trade and Investment

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Another sign of the developing trade corridors starting to take effect between Central and South-East Asia has materialized with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan signing a memorandum of understanding with the Council of Trade of Thailand.

The signing of this Memorandum is the next stage in the development of mutual relations and will contribute to the multifaceted cooperation between Uzbekistan and Thailand. During the signing ceremony, the increasing interest of Thai business circles in expanding business ties with Uzbekistan was emphasized. Currently, Thai investment projects worth US$12 million are being implemented in Uzbekistan.

Trade between the two countries is fairly robust and has been increasing. In 2020, Uzbekistan exported US$130 million worth of product to Thailand, mainly fertilizers, fruits and cotton. Thailand exported about US$50 million, mainly industrial products such as auto components, machinery, and pumps.

Uzbekistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which also includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. CIS nations agree bilateral customs union tariffs with each other. The country has also recently become an observer to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which comprises CIS members Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan and Russia and is a complete free trade bloc. That may be a precursor to Uzbekistan joining the EAEU at a later stage, an interesting development as the EAEU also has a successful Free Trade Agreement with Thailand’s neighbor Vietnam, which has proved especially lucrative for both Vietnamese and Russian exporters and importers. Uzbekistan is also holding FTA negotiations with South Korea, a member of the RCEP free trade agreement which also has Thailand, all other ASEAN countries, China, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand as members.

Developing trade between Central Asia and ASEAN could prove a shrewd move by both countries.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email or visit us at