One of the world’s largest cotton exporters, Uzbekistan, is looking at Indian textiles companies for a collaboration. The former Soviet republic is likely to ink an agreement with the Textiles Ministry in this regard. According to sources, a formal agreement on collaboration in the area of cotton and textiles sector may be inked between the two countries by next week. Uzbekistan grows long-staple cotton equivalent in quality to Egyptian cotton that luxury garment brands demand.
On a two-day visit to Gujarat, Farhod Arziev, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India, met State government officials and leaders from a variety of sectors, including textiles, information technology, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and tourism. During his interaction with industry leaders at a meeting organised by FICCI, Arziev showcased the investment opportunities in this Central Asian country. He underlined the incentives being offered to the industry in the form of tax holidays, free land to joint ventures with Uzbek counterparts and cheap skilled workforce.
“Uzbekistan is a changed country now. They have 100 per cent convertible local currency, besides that banks are supportive and quick to respond to the needs of trade and industry. The biggest advantage is the access to a huge market of the former USSR or the CIS countries as there is a duty-free trade agreement with them,” said Rajiv Vastupal, Chairman of FICCI-Gujarat State Council.
Vastupal further added that top business houses, including Zydus hospitals, and Shalby hospitals, besides representatives from industries such as IT, tourism and pharmaceuticals sector attended the meeting with the Ambassador.
The Ambassador had met Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar. He expressed keen interest for a cooperation in the fields of pharmaceuticals, oil and natural gas, and mines.
Rupani also invited Uzbekistan to be a part of the 2019 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, to which Arziev agreed and confirmed the participation of a high-level delegation. However, industries raised concerns about the country being land-locked and far from a port thereby making it difficult for bulk goods industries to trade.
But, according to Vastupal, Uzbekistan can offer a suitable eco-system to create back-office operations for Indian IT, telecom and tourism industries due to higher education level and cheap skilled labour.