By Ananya Upadhyaya
Trade, import and export for MSMEs: Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has underlined the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector as one of the seven focus areas to enhance cooperation between India and the Central Asian nation Uzbekistan. Terming India-Uzbekistan relations as key to India’s vision of an ‘integrated extended neighbourhood’, Goyal noted digital payments, space cooperation, agri and dairy, pharma, gems and jewellery, and Inter-regional cooperation apart from MSME as the seven emerging areas of cooperation between both the nations.
Addressing the 13th session of the India-Uzbekistan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) in New Delhi last week, Goyal called for taking the “relation forward in newer areas like technology, digital payment solutions and investment in startups.”
India-Uzbekistan bilateral trade increased 38.5 per cent from $247 million in 2019-20 to $342 million in 2021-22 despite the pandemic, the minister noted while highlighting 2022 to be the 30th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Goyal’s address came ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Uzbekistan scheduled for September this year. Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Jamshid Khodjaev in his comments at the event said the visit of PM Modi will be utilized fully for giving a significant boost to bilateral relations in several areas of mutual interest.
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In a separate event — India-Uzbekistan Business Forum organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry on Friday — Khodjayev invited Indian businesses to integrate and jointly produce pharma and IT products with Uzbekistan and also to work towards the development of several segments such as fintech and cybersecurity.
According to data from Trading Economics, India’s exports to Uzbekistan in 2021 were topped by pharmaceutical products followed by machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, tanning or dyeing extracts, etc. In terms of imports from Uzbekistan, gums and resins, medical apparatus, zinc, silk, cotton, etc., were the leading products purchased by India in 2021.