INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN #64 April 3, 2017

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POLITICS
The U.S. President Congratulates the President of Uzbekistan on Navruz Holiday

ECONOMY
Uzbekistan: New Approaches to Localization and Import Substitution

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: COMMENTS
The Outcomes of the State Visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan: Projections for the Future

NINTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE SENATE OF THE OLIY MAJLIS
Senate Convenes for General Session

ART
Jazz Festival in Uzbekistan

POLItiCs

The U.S. President Congratulates the President of Uzbekistan on Navruz Holiday

His Excellency

Shavkat Mirziyoyev

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Tashkent

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the American people, I am very happy to wish a joyful and prosperous Navro’z to you, to your family, and to the people of Uzbekistan. Many Americans join in this celebration of renewal and rebirth.

I am pleased to see the progress and reforms you are making in many spheres since your election. The American people and their businesses continue to look for new areas to deepen our cooperation with Uzbekistan. Navro’z Muborak!

Sincerely,

Donald J.Trump

economy

Uzbekistan: New Approaches to Localization and Import Substitution

The first stage of the Tenth International Industrial Fair and Cooperation Exchange (IIFCE) kicks off in Uzbekistan. Traditionally, it begins with regional and industrial fairs, which showcase the industrial capacity of the country from March to June.

The annual event is aimed at assisting business entities in optimization of production, strengthening and development of intra-industry and cross-sector cooperation, promotion of domestically manufactured products, search for partners, signing supply and export contracts.

Effectiveness of the International Industrial Fair and Cooperation Exchange has been growing year by year, as it reflects the positive results of ongoing economic reforms in the country. The number of participants of territorial and sector-based industrial fairs has been expanding respectively in quality and quantity, as well as the number of concluded contracts, including export contracts.

More than 5,000 industrial enterprises took part in thirteen regional fairs in March-June 2016. They signed supply and industrial cooperation agreements for more than 1 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 03.04.2017, 1$= 3595.02 soums). The participants took keen interest in mining equipment, mini tractors for horticultural farms, power generators, medical equipment, high-quality oil and ceramic products.

This year, territorial industrial fairs have kicked off in the second half of March and will continue until June in 14 regions of Uzbekistan. Sector-based industrial fairs will start working in the near future to be completed in mid-June. The International Industrial Fair and Cooperation Exchange will take place on November 2-8 and 15-19.

Within the first stage, small and large enterprises will have the opportunity to present their products and get acquainted with technical innovations, achievements of related industries and enterprises, and identify short-term needs in materials and components. Upon regional events, the participants will conclude contracts for the development of new types of industrial products.

At the second stage, the contracts will be transformed into supply contracts, making up the manufacturer order book for the next year. Prior to that, the enterprises will work through the production of new types of products, make pilot batches, and also coordinate technical parameters of products with the customers and bring them to the required quality.

Within the framework of IIFCE, the headmost industrial enterprises of Uzbekistan will conduct presentations with the proposals on cooperation aiming to fully represent the capacity of cooperation.

In a word, the regular International Industrial Fair and Cooperation Exchange will unite domestic manufacturers, scientists, experts, foreign investors, who seek to implement interesting initiatives, and engage economic incentives and mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of domestic industry.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

International cooperation: cOMMENTS

The Outcomes of the State Visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan: Projections for the Future

Farhod Hakimov, research fellow at the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, has commented on the results of the recent visit by the head of our state to Kazakhstan.

“In Astana, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a joint declaration on the enhancement of the strategic partnership and consolidation of neighborly relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan. As it is known, political trust and ties between the administrations of the two countries contribute to the strategic level of partnership. What other conditions, in your opinion, are necessary for the implementation of this document?”

“First of all, I would like to note that the state visit by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, well before it took place, had caused increased interest in the leading foreign media and expert community. Not surprisingly, the ‘historic’ nature of the event has been ascertained at the highest level.

Undoubtedly, one of the major outcomes of the visit was that the heads of two fraternal nations inked a joint declaration on the enhancement of the strategic partnership and consolidation of neighborly relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan. In our opinion, this document can be regarded as a confirmation of the commitment of the sides to the previously achieved bilateral agreements and willingness to enlarge and boost the multifaceted interstate relations. Moreover, the parties also recorded their responsibility for strengthening security and stability, sustainable economic development of the entire Central Asian region, especially taking into account the fact that the two countries account for about 70% of the region's population.

The Declaration, along with the Treaty on Eternal Friendship and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, forms fundamental legal and regulatory foundations for deepening the strategic partnership and bolstering the good-neighborliness between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, resulting in the emergence of a kind of ‘third whale’ to support the contemporary bilateral relations.

As you’ve noted, an important condition for the implementation of interstate agreements, as well as the amplification of strategic partnership and good-neighborliness, is a strong political will and a high level of trust between the leaders of the two states. This was once again clearly demonstrated during the negotiations, where the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan declared the need to “meet more often”.

An additional mechanism has been created to identify new opportunities for enhancing trade and economic cooperation, bringing together the positions of Tashkent and Astana in the international arena, and settling problematic aspects "in a working order" in the event that such a need arises. This is indicated in the Joint Declaration on "supporting regular bilateral visits and political consultations at the highest and higher levels, expanding interaction between governments, parliaments and local authorities", as well as in the agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on interregional cooperation.

A firm foundation of friendly relations between the two states and peoples is the common historical and cultural roots, the community of religion and language. One cannot ignore such a key condition as the maintenance of cultural and humanitarian ties between the two fraternal peoples. The rich historical and cultural heritage of our two nations also serves as a solid basis for bolstering good-neighborliness between our countries.

An appreciable role can be played by the intensification of ties between the expert-analytical communities of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The urgency of this issue is explained by the thesis of some foreign experts about the alleged competition between Tashkent and Astana for the status of a regional leader. In these circumstances, intellectuals of the two states could establish an effective, so to speak, counterpropaganda on that front.”

“According to the results of 2016, the volume of trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan amounted to $ 2 billion, but, as it was noted at the meeting of the heads of state, there is an opportunity to double this figure. Undoubtedly, the complementary nature of economies is an essential aspect in achieving this goal. But that is not enough. In addition, we will not forget about external factors that, one way or another, affect the fall in the value indicators of trade. How real are the planned prospects of bringing trade between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to $ 5 billion?”

“In our opinion, the implementation of agreements reached in this direction can already be observed in practice. The heads of state, rightly emphasizing the availability of a large untapped potential in trade and economic cooperation, noted an increase in trade turnover in recent months alone by 30%.

To maintain positive dynamics and uplift the trade turnover between the two states to $ 5 billion by 2020, the parties signed the Strategy for Economic Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017-2019. The need to intensify the activities of the intergovernmental commission and joint trading houses was underscored. Business communities have also been making a significant contribution. It is noteworthy that the economic agreements penned between them for a total of about $ 1 billion have already been called by Kazakhstani observers as "unprecedented in relations between the two countries over the past decades."

In this context, an important condition, as you’ve already noted, is that the economies of our countries are complementary in their structure. Uzbekistan exports mainly finished products to Kazakhstan: vehicles, mineral fertilizers, textiles, electrical, building materials, and fruit and vegetable products. From Kazakhstan, we import oil, metals, flour, fat and oil products.”

“Can the transit potential of the two countries become a motivator of integration processes in the region?”

“As the study of publications of foreign media and opinions of expert and analytical circles shows, the "transport" theme took one of the main places in their comments. It is well known that the formation of a reliable and ramified transport infrastructure meets the fundamental interests of the Central Asian states who do not have a direct access to the world maritime trade routes, which largely hinders the prospects for economic development of the republics of the region.

Further expansion of cooperation in the transport and communication sector between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan will not only help to increase bilateral trade turnover, strengthen humanitarian bonds at the interregional level, but also increase the transit value of Central Asia in the East-West and North-South directions.”

“What are the underlying principles of the coordinated actions of Tashkent and Astana in the foreign policy realm?”

“The systematic nature of the dialogue between the leaders of the two countries allows us to exchange views on the current state and prospects for the development of interaction between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in various fields, and to work out a coordinated foreign policy on the way to maintaining stability in the region.

During the talks, the sides reaffirmed community and concurrence of the views of the two nations on the most pressing security issues in Central Asia, primarily on the Afghan crisis, and the rational use of water resources in accordance with the norms of international law.

In this regard, I would like to emphasize that one of the key points of the Joint Declaration is the provision under which the parties stressed that "the harmonization and adoption of mutually acceptable solutions on the whole range of intra-regional issues should be carried out first of all by the states of the region on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual benefit and respect for each other's interests."

In general, the outcomes of the state visit by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Kazakhstan fully correspond to the tasks defined in the Strategy of Actions for 2017-2021. Uzbekistan's commitment to building good-neighborly relations in order to bolster security and stability in the region has been reaffirmed.”

(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for Supporting NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions).

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

ninth plenary session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis

Senate Convenes for General Session

21 issues were considered, including nine laws aimed at further deepening reforms in all spheres of life at the ninth plenary session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis which was conducted on March 28-29 in Tashkent.

The parliamentarians began their work with the consideration of the Law "On the introduction of amendments and addenda to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan". As the senators noted, it contains fundamental provisions aimed at realization of the tasks defined in the Strategy for Actions where the guarantees for the reliable protection of citizens' rights and freedoms were expanded, the level of their access to justice was increased, and the efficiency and quality of the proceedings were stepped up.

In accordance with the amendments, the Supreme Economic Court and the Supreme Court will be unite into a single supreme body of judicial power in the sphere of civil, criminal, administrative and economic proceedings - the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The senators stressed that the presence of two higher judicial authorities led; first of all, to duplicate the management functions of the judicial system, the current structure did not provide a unified judicial practice, rational distribution of the workload.

The adopted constitutional changes will become the basis for further deep reforming, democratization of the judicial system, and leveling up the effectiveness of justice in the country.

In accordance with the changes made into the Basic Law, a new institution is being introduced into the judicial and legal system - the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It should replace the previous High Qualification Commission on selection and recommendation for the position of judges under the President of Uzbekistan. As noted during the meeting, this commission did not have the necessary constitutional status, sufficient powers which affected the effectiveness of the work on the formation of an active judicial body.

The Constitution gives the Supreme Judicial Council broad powers. In accordance with the new version of the paragraph 14 part one of Article 93, the President appoints and dismisses the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the courts of regions and Tashkent city, chairman of the Military Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The parliamentarians noted that the introduction of these changes and additions to the Constitution aimed at radical improvement of activities, enhancing the authority of the judiciary, bettering the structure of courts and democratization of the system for selection and appointment to the posts of judges, will become a momentous factor in securing reliable judicial protection of the rights, freedoms, legitimate interests of citizens and business entities, strengthening the rule of law. The law was approved by senators.

The senators considered and approved the Law “On the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Public of Uzbekistan". Its establishment is aimed at the formation of a highly qualified judiciary. The law defines the main tasks and powers, the rights and duties of council members, the procedure for its creation and organization of activities.

Then, the senators approved changes and additions to the Law “On courts”, the Civil Procedural and Economic Procedural Codes. The parliamentarians stated that the amendments were aimed at creating a legal basis for the activities of the newly formed administrative and economic courts. In particular, they clearly define the jurisdiction of administrative courts - these are cases of complaints and applications on the actions of state structures, citizens’ self-government bodies, as well as their officials.

The law "On the introduction of amendments and addenda to some legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in connection with the adoption of additional measures to secure the reliable protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens" was considered and approved. It provides the abolition of criminal punishment in the form of arrest, at the same time, non-custodial type of penalty - "compulsory public works" was introduced into the system of criminal punishments. The detention period for the persons suspected of committing a crime is reduced from 72 to 48 hours, the deadlines for the application of preventive measures in the form of custody and house arrest, as well as preliminary investigation from 12 months to seven months.

In accordance with the amendments, it is provided to transfer the right to issue sanctions for the arrest of postal and telegraph items and for the exhumation of a dead body from the prosecutor's office to the courts. Thus, the application scope of the "Habeas corpus" institute in the legal proceedings expands the role and importance of judicial control in the criminal process increases. In accordance with the law, courts are entitled to apply alternative preventive measures in case of refusal to apply a preventive measure in the form of detention or house arrest. At the same time, the institution of returning the criminal case by court to further investigation is completely abolished, the mechanisms for filling the incompleteness of the investigation during the trial are legislatively fixed. The law shortens the period for reviewing the judicial decision on civil cases in the order of supervision from 3 years to 1 year. The law was approved by senators.

Senators also approved the Law "On the introduction of amendments and additions to certain legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan" aimed at simplifying the procedure for re-issuing licenses and authorized-based permits, and eliminating the uncertainty in the legal regulation of the licensing and passing the licensing procedures.

The report on the activity of the Authorized Representative for Human Rights of the Oliy Majlis (Ombudsman) in 2016 was heard. The report noted that the main directions of the Ombudsman’s activity in 2016 were increasing the effectiveness of monitoring for the observance of the legislation on human rights and freedoms by state bodies, enterprises, institutions, organizations and officials. Particular attention was placed on further enhancement of the legislation on human rights and bringing it in correspondence with international law, grading up the legal awareness of the population, as well as intensifying the cooperation with civil society institutions, international and foreign organizations.

In the past year, the Ombudsman considered about 3 thousand appeals of citizens, public organizations and other legal entities as a subject of parliamentary control. The senators made suggestions and recommendations aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the Ombudsman's work in addressing the tasks identified in the state program "Year of dialogue with the people and human interests".

The parliamentarians heard a report on the activity of the Accounting Chamber of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2016. In the submitted paper, in particular, it was noted that the Chamber took control measures at 131 facilities (objects) in 25 directions.

Based on the results, 19 written instructions were sent to ministries, departments and hokimiyats (local administrations). Cause damages in the amount of over 86.6 billion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 03.04.2017, 1$= 3595.02 soums) were reimbursed in favor of the state budget targeted state funds and business entities.

Following the consideration of the Accounting Chamber's report, the senators made suggestions and recommendations on how to further improve its activities.

The report of the Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank on its activities in 2016 noted that as a result of taken measures to raise the level of capitalization of the banking system, the aggregate capital of commercial banks increased by 20.2% to 9.35 trillion soums. As a result of last year, the level of capital adequacy of the banking system was almost three times higher than international standards, and its liquidity - twice higher than the highest indicator estimates. The bank deposits grew by 25.2%, thereby the bank's assets increased by 23.3%.

The credit policy concerning support of small business and private entrepreneurship was considerably bettered. The volume of their crediting by commercial banks of the country increased by 1.3 times compared to 2015 and amounted to 15.8 trillion soums, including micro loans - 3.3 trillion soums. About 362.1 billion soums of soft loans were allocated to college graduates by commercial banks which was 1.3 times more than in 2015.

The parliamentarians recommended to intensify the work on enhancing the effectiveness of supervision over the activities of banks and other financial institutions in the purpose of maintaining the stability of the financial and banking system, securing the protection of the interests of depositors, borrowers and creditors. They noted the need to amplify the allocation of preferential micro loans to households for wide involvement of the country's population in entrepreneurial activity, expansion of the scale and financing volume of the projects provided by the socio-economic advancement of the regions.

In his report the Prosecutor General of the Republic stressed that in 2016 significant work was done to secure the rule of law, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, warn and prevent the offences.

In particular, reliable legal protection of business entities was considered one of the most essential priorities in the activities of the public prosecution authorities. More than 43 thousand events were conducted to grade up the legal awareness of both entrepreneurs and government officials. More than 19.7 thousand facts for violation of the rights of business entities, including illegal interference in their activities, illegal inspections, collection of surplus fees, were identified. According to these facts, appropriate measures of prosecutorial response were taken.

Having thoroughly analyzed the report, the senators noted the need to take effective measures aimed at increasing the role and authority of the public prosecutor's office in further strengthening justice in society, securing the rule of law, protecting the rights and legitimate interests of individuals and legal entities, and leveling up the legal awareness of the population.

The Minister of Internal Affairs made a report on the activities in the sphere of combating crime and preventing offences.

In the report it was noted that as a result of the introduction of new approaches to the organization of the internal affairs bodies activities, the involvement of broad sections of society in the fight against crime, the realization of measures to organize the service of local police inspectors for prevention directly among the population, in the past period there was not committed a single crime in 5253 mahallas.

There was achieved a significant reduction in the basic indicators of crime, including the number of particularly serious crimes, offences committed earlier by convicted persons, groups and minors.

During the discussion, the parliamentarians made concrete proposals and recommendations pointed at further increasing the effectiveness of the work of law enforcement bodies, creating decent office and living conditions for their employees, especially local police inspectors for crime prevention.

In the report of the chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection it was noted that in 2016 a large-scale endeavors were carried out to create favorable conditions for strengthening people's health and maintaining ecological balance.

In the course of the monitoring on the observance of environmental legislation, more than 18,000 officials and citizens were brought to administrative responsibility, more than 2.4 thousand objects were brought a suits, 4.13 billion soums were recovered.

During the discussion of the report, the senators drew attention to the need for further enhancement of the management system in the sphere of ecology, environmental protection and waste management, conservation and reproduction of the biodiversity, the mitigation of the consequences of the Aral crisis.

The general session considered other issues related to the competence of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

Art

Jazz Festival in Uzbekistan

The 3rd International Jazz Festival kicked off on March 30 in Uzbekistan. It is organized on the occasion of the celebration of the International Jazz Day and will last through to April 30.

Its goal is to provide an opportunity for musicians of Uzbekistan and those from abroad to show the diversity of jazz, to demonstrate intercultural dialogue through various events in Tashkent and other cities of the country.

At the press conference dedicated to the festival, rector of the State Conservatory Bakhtiyor Yakubov said that this year it would surpass all others in its scale.

The opening of the festival takes place on March 30 in the grand hall of the State Conservatory, where the combined ensembles of the National Symphonic, Chamber and Folk Instrumental Orchestras of Uzbekistan perform.

NORD FX German jazz band will give concert in the same hall on April 1. In addition, Tashkent residents have the opportunity to attend a master class of this band, which will be held at the Ilhom Theater on April 2. And the next day the band will give concert in the Bukhara Regional Theater of Musical Drama.

Latvian singer Aija Vitolina in a duet with a musical jazz trio will perform April 4 at the Turkiston Concert Hall in Tashkent, and the next day Samarkand residents will have the opportunity to enjoy their concert at the Arts College in Samarkand.

The Jazz Festival will also take place in the historical city of Kokand, where the Indian Dhruv Ghanekar’s band will perform at the Khamza Theater on April 9. The band will perform April 13 in Tashkent as well.

Estonia will be represented in the Festival by performers Kadri Voorand and Marek Talst, who together with the Botir Zokirov Variety-Symphonic Orchestra of Uzbekistan will perform in the grand hall of the Conservatory on April 11 and 12.

The residents of Tashkent will also enjoy the performances of musicians from the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Turkey and Indonesia.

In between the concerts of jazz bands the fans of this genre of music will have the opportunity to attend master classes, jam sessions, and creative meetings.

“The International Day of Jazz promotes the aspiration for peace, development of a broad outlook, as well as respect for human rights and human dignity. Thanks to it, the residents of the republic will have the opportunity to enjoy this unique genre of music for the third time already,” Daiga Bondare, the head assistant of the culture department, UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan, said. “They also learn more about jazz, its roots and subculture.”

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

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