Monday, August 13, 2012 -
Nearly fifty executives from U.S. firms are expected to attend an annual Uzbek-U.S. trade forum to be held in Tashkent on Friday, the head of the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC) said last week.
The forum will coincide with the visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, who will visit Uzbekistan from Wednesday until Sunday for Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABCs). Blake will precede his visit to the Uzbek capital with a trip to Kazakh business capital Almaty on Tuesday and Wednesday.
American firms which are members of the AUCC include Boeing, FMN Logistics, General Electric, Honeywell, and Rio Tinto, though it is unclear whether these firms will be attending the forum on Friday.
Seventeen U.S. firms are currently members of the AUCC.
“Uzbekistan really offers a wide variety of areas for U.S. investors,” AUCC Chair Carolyn Lamm said on Friday in the notice announcing the forum.
“Uzbekistan is rich in natural resources, whether it’s gold or uranium, gas and many precious metals, rare earths, molybdenum, aluminum...also, the labor force is very educated; the people are very bright and industrious.”
The AUCC was created in 1993 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Relations between the U.S. and Uzbekistan hit a low point in 2005 when the U.S., as well as the EU, openly criticized the Uzbek government for its crushing response to an uprising in Andijan. Following that, the Uzbek government – led by strongman Islam Karimov – ousted the U.S. from its Karshi-Khanabad air base.
In recent months, as NATO and the U.S. look for partners in moving materiel out of Afghanistan, relations between the two states have significantly warmed.