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CIS Economic Strategy: A View from Uzbekistan

Deepening economic and financial interaction


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MINSK (CIS press service) — Over the past few years, Uzbekistan has significantly stepped up its activities within the CIS. In 2020, the Republic of Uzbekistan presided over the Commonwealth for the first time. A landmark event in this period was the adoption of the CIS Economic Development Strategy until 2030 by the Council of Heads of Government. The chief researcher at the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan [], Alexei Kustov, presents the following analysis on the impact of this strategy on the development of integration.

Alexei Kustov

The development of relations with the CIS is one of the main priorities of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy. Uzbekistan regards the Commonwealth as an important mechanism to deepen multifaceted practical cooperation, particularly in the development of trade and economic ties, the expansion of industrial cooperation and effective use of the transport and transit potential.

It should be noted that on the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan for the first time assumed the CIS presidency in 2020, designating the consistent expansion and enhancement of multilateral cooperation as its main priority.

A landmark event during Uzbekistan’s chairmanship has been the adoption of the CIS Economic Development Strategy until 2030 by the Commonwealth states. This strategic document will be implemented in two stages on the basis of action plans for its implementation. On this basis, active work has been done to prepare an action plan for the first stage of implementing the Strategy for 2021-2025, which will take into account the situation in the economies of the CIS member States associated with the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The adoption of the Strategy once again demonstrates the convergence of long-term interests and main objectives of economic development of the CIS countries, as well as confirms their interest in equal, mutually beneficial and multifaceted cooperation.

It should be noted that the adopted document is comprehensive and covers about 30 areas of economic cooperation between the CIS member states. Joint efforts will be focused on the development of interstate trade and economic cooperation, elaboration of new cooperation and infrastructure projects.

Much attention will be paid to industrial-technological and scientific-technical cooperation, implementation of innovations and development of the digital society, and realization of educational potential.

The creation of high-tech transport systems, the development of cooperation in the field of competition policy, the agro-industrial complex, monetary and financial and socio-economic spheres are also of great importance.

The main objective of the Strategy is to create favourable conditions for sustainable economic development and, accordingly, to improve the well-being of citizens. In this regard, key indicators of the implementation of the Strategy have been identified. These include achieving GDP growth rates above the world average, increasing per capita GDP, life expectancy and mutual trade. It is also planned to reduce energy intensity, improve the business climate and upgrade the World Bank’s Doing Business [1] and global competitiveness rankings of the World Economic Forum [2].

It should be emphasised that the CIS states have all the necessary resources to achieve the set goals successfully. The Commonwealth occupies 16% of the world’s territory and is home to 286 million people or 3.8% of the world’s population. They account for almost 30% of the world’s reserves of natural gas and coal, 20% of oil, 36% of uranium, 20% of gold, 13% of arable land and so on.

In the context of adoption of the CIS Economic Development Strategy to 2030, we should note a number of important aspects concerning the interests of our country.

Deepening economic and financial interaction

First, Uzbekistan has in the past few years intensified its participation in sectoral cooperation, the implementation of projects in trade and economic sphere, as well as in the functioning system of consultations at various levels. Thus, we have consistently deepened economic and financial interaction within the CIS framework that has permitted to effectively address issues of economic integration and trade cooperation with key external partners.

During its CIS chairmanship, Uzbekistan held meetings of the Economic Council, the Council of Heads of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and events as part of the Week of Business Initiatives. The round table on cooperation in commercial arbitration and the economic and tourism forums of the Commonwealth countries can also be highlighted.

Expanding economic ties

Second, it is important to note Uzbekistan’s interest in expanding and deepening economic ties, including at the regional level, with the Commonwealth states. The CIS countries were and remain one of the most important economic partners of our state. Today they account for 31.2% of the Republic’s total foreign trade.

As a result of measures taken by the leadership of Uzbekistan to strengthen cooperation with CIS countries, the volume of trade between Uzbekistan and the Commonwealth has increased from $8.3 bln to $14.4 bln over the past four years.

Industrial cooperation

Thirdly, Uzbekistan aims not only at preserving traditional economically sound production relations but also at their productive development. The deepening of industrial cooperation among the CIS states is the main way to promote economic cooperation. Above all, this is the development of industrial-technological ties and investment cooperation.

The mechanism of cooperation within the CIS allows focusing investment, technical, trade and economic policies on the most important directions. The successful implementation of such cooperation would contribute to boosting production and mutual trade. At the same time, a promising direction of joint efforts is to expand the practice of “green and simplified corridors”, which has shown its efficiency.

Free Trade Zone Treaty

Fourth, given today’s global experience, the priority task is to further develop mutual trade among CIS member states on the basis of the 2011 Free Trade Zone Treaty. This is due to the fact that this treaty is a mechanism that has a positive impact on the development of trade and economic relations in the Commonwealth. A free trade zone facilitates access for domestic producers to CIS markets. This factor provides additional resources for the development of Uzbekistan’s industrial production.

Thus, the terms of free trade under the agreement provide all the opportunities for a more effective promotion of industrial, agricultural, light industrial and metallurgical production within the CIS economic space. Thus, the document and its mechanisms provide broader opportunities to increase the production of export-oriented high-tech products with high added value.


To summarise, the CIS Economic Development Strategy to 2030 should play a significant role in further enhancing the economic potential of the Commonwealth members. The document balances their common and national interests, and coordinates approaches and priorities for further enhancing mutually beneficial economic cooperation.

In addition, the Strategy aims to gradually increase the efficiency of economic relations in the Commonwealth by fully unlocking the socio-economic potential of each country and the entire association as a whole.

We can confidently say that the CIS Economic Development Strategy through 2030 will facilitate the transition to a new quality of socio-economic development based on technological modernization, absorption and introduction of the latest technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution [3] , deepening of industrial cooperation and increasing of export potential.

At the same time, the document will enhance the competitiveness of the CIS economies and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and consolidation of the CIS position in world economic relations. ■

[The Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (ISRS), the leading state research organization, was established in 1992. Its main mission is to provide the President of of Uzbekistan with information and analytical support.

[1The ease of doing business index is an index created jointly by Simeon Djankov and Gerhard Pohl, two leading economists at the World Bank Group. Higher rankings (a low numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights. Empirical research funded by the World Bank to justify their work show that the economic growth impact of improving these regulations is strong. New Zealand has topped the Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

[2The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum. Since 2004, this report ranks countries based on the Global Competitiveness Index, developed by Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Elsa V. Artadi. Before that, the macroeconomic ranks were based on Jeffrey Sachs’s Growth Development Index and the microeconomic ranks were based on Michael Porter’s Business Competitiveness Index. The Global Competitiveness Index integrates the macroeconomic and the micro/business aspects of competitiveness into a single index. As of the current rankings, Singapore ranks first on the Global Competitiveness Report.

[3A concept first introduced by a team of scientists developing a high-tech strategy for the German government. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. Large-scale machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT) are integrated for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and production of smart machines that can analyse and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention.

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