Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan Exports Up As Growing Trends Justify The China-Kyrgyz-Uzbek Railway

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Kyrgyzstan increased its exports of commodities to Uzbekistan during January to April 2022, according to the National Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan. The news validates the decision taken recently to commence work on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan (CKU) railway, with export trends in favour of the routes success.

According to the Kyrgyz committee, the export of goods from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan in the first four months of 2022 reached US$61.1 million, 7.9% more compared to the same period in 2021 (US$56.6 million).

The bilateral trade turnover between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan from January through April 2022 increased to US$146 million, 5% more than the same period in 2021 (US$139 million). Uzbek exports to Kyrgyzstan in the reporting period amounted to US$84.9 million, 3% more than the same period in 2021 (US$82.4 million). In terms of overall regional volumes, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan were Kyrgyzstan’s largest trading partners for the period.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan plan to increase bilateral trade to US$2 billion per annum. Industrial cooperation between the two countries is actively developing, important joint projects in the field of energy, transport and logistics are being implemented. The Uzbek-Kyrgyz Development Fund with a capital of US$200 million has been launched to financially support the projects.

Both countries are discussing the construction of the Irkeshtam-Daroot-Korgon-Uchkurgan road, the construction of a cross-border trade and logistics center in Kyzyl-Kiya, as well as joint infrastructure projects that could use the potential of the new development fund.

This includes the implementation of a project to create a complex of cotton and textile clusters in Nooken district, Jalal-Abad region (Kyrgyzstan), which includes a ginnery, yarn factory, textile factory and machine-tractor park and a plant for the production of vegetable oil. The Kyrgyz side is also increasing supplies of cement, coal, quartz sand, potatoes, milk and dairy products to Uzbekistan.

The planned CKU railway will become the southern part of China-Europe freight rail, and will link China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan to Central and Eastern Europe via Iran and Turkey. According to proposed plans, the total length of the CKU railway is about 523 kilometers, including 213 kilometers in China, 260 kilometers in Kyrgyzstan and about 50 kilometers in Uzbekistan.

From Uzbekistan, it can then connect with Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan rail to the Turkmenbashi Port on the Caspian Sea, where it can intersect with either Baku Port in Azerbaijan and onto markets in Georgia, Turkey and the Black Sea EU nations of Bulgaria and Romania, or it can head south to Iranian Caspian Ports such as Anzali, head south by rail (also being completed in 2023) via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) to the southern Iranian Port at Chabahar. Maritime access then leads to the Middle East, East Africa, and India.

Uzbek officials have said that when completed, the railway will be the shortest route to transport goods from China to Europe and the Middle East, cutting the freight journey by 900 kilometers and saving seven to eight days in shipping time.

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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