DUBAI, 16th March, 2023 (WAM) — Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, began the first New Horizons Trade Mission to Central Asia yesterday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The event saw more than 150 B2B meetings between Dubai-based companies and Uzbek business leaders and a business forum attended by over 230 participants, including senior Uzbek government officials, business leaders and leading investors interested in doing business in Dubai.
New Horizons is a programme spearheaded by the Dubai International Chamber to drive international expansion of Dubai businesses into new select markets while promoting Dubai as a thriving global investment hub for companies from those markets. It builds on the chamber’s “In Focus” initiative, a platform for Dubai businesses and member companies to engage with public and private sector leaders in strategic markets to help them grow and achieve their expansion goals.
A large delegation comprising 24 Dubai-headquartered companies representing 16 economic sectors also attended the business forum, opened by Mohammad Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, with keynote addresses from Sarvar Khamidov, Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan, and Dr. Saeed Matar Al Qemzi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Lootah said, “Central Asia is an area Dubai International Chamber has identified as one with huge growth potential for bilateral trade. Central Asia is an important market for us, and Uzbekistan is one of our key strategic partners in this region. We believe that together we can unlock great trade and investment opportunities for the business communities in Dubai and Uzbekistan to achieve their goals and investment objectives. With Dubai’s Economic Agenda ‘D33’ aiming to double the size of the emirate’s economy and double foreign trade to reach AED25.6 trillion over the next decade, we can maximise opportunities focusing on high-impact areas of shared economic and business priority.
“This meeting is our first step towards creating a plethora of new bilateral business and investment opportunities. There was a 49 percent growth in the number of Uzbek companies that joined the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, from 652 in 2016 to 968 in 2022 as well as an increase of total Dubai exporters to Uzbekistan to 200 in the same year. Today, we were gratified to see the relationships already forming between Uzbek and Dubai businesses during the first business matchmaking session. This indicates the success of these trade missions, which means those numbers will grow.”
The Tashkent meeting included a panel discussion with local experts from the logistics, customs and banking sectors who took delegates through some benefits and advantages of doing business in Uzbekistan.
During the event, Sarvar Khamidov, Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan, said, “Our bilateral investment portfolio comprises different projects in various sectors of the economy with a total value of about US$5 billion, and it continues to grow steadily. The UAE can serve as a bridge to the MENA region, while Uzbekistan can well serve as a hub for the Central Asian and CIS markets.”
Dr. Al Qemzi stated, “Trade and investment indicators between the UAE and Uzbekistan are steadily growing. Trade turnover between our countries doubled and exceeded US$500 million in 2022. UAE and Uzbekistan are developing investment collaboration in different fields, including traditional and alternative energy, infrastructure, agriculture, logistics, aviation and tourism. I believe this event will contribute to further developing bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Around 80 percent of the UAE’s consumed food is imported. Uzbekistan has sizeable arable land and favourable climatic conditions, creating major investment opportunities for UAE food companies. Construction is another sector for potential investment. In addition, Dubai companies can invest in constructing modern business centres, shopping and entertainment centres, a park area and a high-rise residential building.
In addition, Uzbekistan has the largest population (32 million) among the Central Asian countries, which bears ample investment opportunities for Dubai companies in manufacturing consumer products such as tea, perfumes and soap.
After the pre-arranged business matching session, the New Horizons trade group conducted site visits to potential business partners in Tashkent, including a visit led by President and CEO of Dubai Chambers Lootah to “Allmed”, a Dubai-based company that expanded its international footprint years ago into Uzbekistan.
Key partners that supported this trade mission and the roadshow in Uzbekistan include the UAE Embassy in Uzbekistan and the Uzbek Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade.