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Uzbekistan: London Delegation Aims To Boost Western Investment

  • Stuart Parrott

London, 20 October 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Utkur Sultanov, will lead an official delegation to London next month for a two-day conference aimed at boosting western investment in the Central Asian country.

Sultanov will deliver a keynote speech on the theme: "Uzbekistan: the economic gateway to Central Asia."

The conference will focus on the investment climate for foreign investors and the country's transition to a free market economy.

Other subjects for discussion are the banking sector in Uzbekistan, the legal framework and new accounting and tax regulations.

As in past years, a high-level delegation from the government and foreign companies already operating in the country are expected at the fourth annual London conference on Doing Business in Uzbekistan.

David Hexter, deputy vice-president of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, will discuss his bank's perspective on Uzbekistan's transition. The EBRD was set up to assist the Central and East European countries and the former Soviet republics to make the transition to market economies.

Senior World Bank economist Itzhak Goldberg will give a progress report on Uzbekistan's privatisation investment funds program.

The conference will also focus on the prospects for the cotton industry in Uzbekistan -- one of the key sectors of the economy. It will examine Uzbekistan's position in the league table of producers and exporters, and look at its main exports.

The conference will also look at prospects for the Central Asian republic's mining industry. The keynote address will be given by Tulkun Shayakubov, chairman of the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources. This conference session will focus on the Zarafshan-Newmont and Angren gold mining projects, and hear a progress report on another promising venture, the Zarmitan gold project.

One of the key conference addresses will be given by a senior executive of the giant South Korean company, Daewoo.

Executive vice-president, Hee Choo Chung, will explain why his company is investing heavily in the automobile industry and telecommunications in the Central Asian region.

Another speaker, Peter Taylor, general manager of the Uzbekistan branch of British American Tobacco will outline why his company has invested in a joint venture in the country and its progress so far.

Herve Yon, chief representative of the Tashkent office of the French group, Societe Generale, will discuss the financing of the export of industrial goods to Uzbekistan.

Nicky Cosslett, a spokeswoman for conference organisers, British commercial firm, IBC UK Conferences., said today that Sultanov is expected to lead a 15-strong delegation to the London event.

They will include Economic Relations Minister Elyor Ghaniev, Rustam Azimov, chairman of the board of directors of the National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity; and Tulkan Shayakubov, chairman of the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources.

A special pre-conference workshop on understanding financial information on Uzbek companies will be held in association with the multinational consultancy firm, Arthur Andersen. The conference is being staged with the support of Britain's Department of Trade and Industry.