Books on Uzbekistan
Update No: 319 - (26/07/07)
The centre point of Central Asia
Uzbekistan is difficult to ignore. It is too big and central to Central Asia for
that. It is run by a ghastly dictator, who tolerates having his enemies boiled
alive and other unspeakable atrocities.
A brave ambassador, the UK's Craig Murray, pointed this out forthrightly in
public in Tashkent several years ago. He lost his job for his pains. The US
acquired a military base on the Afghan border after 9:11, a more weighty
consideration. But then in May 2005 came a massacre at Andijan in the Ferghana
Valley, in which hundreds were killed. Even the complaisant denizens of Foggy
Bottom realised that this was beyond the pale. They denounced the regime and had
their base evicted forthwith.
But life goes on. Washington has enough enemies on its plate without adding one
more to the list. Uzbekistan is certainly not preparing to acquire nuclear
weapons, unlike Iran next door. On reflection new feelers are being put out to
Is a thaw in the offing?
Recent high-profile missions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
Asian Development Bank (ADB) lauded Uzbekistan's economic performance, prompting
some political analysts to wonder whether a thaw is in the offing between
Tashkent on the one hand, and the United States and European Union on the other.
An IMF staff mission visited Uzbekistan from June 4th-13th. The mission's
statement posted on IMF's website, lauded Uzbek authorities for "their
excellent cooperation and frank exchange of views." In sharp contrast to
previous assessments, which complained about a lack of will to carry out
structural reforms, the latest mission statement noted that the Uzbek economy
continues "to perform well," showing 9 percent growth for the first
quarter of 2007. "There are indications that inflation has eased and
confidence in the banking system has improved," the statement added.
The IMF adopted a restrained approach on government taxation and regulatory
policies. Within the past year, entrepreneurs in the country have complained
bitterly about a confiscatory tax system and excessive regulations, yet the IMF
mission stepped gingerly in these areas, noting euphemistically that
"fiscal policies have remained cautious, while the tax burden
In addition, the IMF mission said it was "encouraged by the intention of
the authorities to conduct an appropriately tight monetary policy," and
urged Uzbek authorities to "consolidate the improved confidence in the
Although the Uzbek economy has experienced moderate growth, the tenor of the IMF
statement caught the attention of many regional analysts, especially when
considering the IMF felt compelled to briefly suspend ties with Uzbekistan in
2001 over Tashkent's reluctance to implement reforms.
Experts believe that the goal of the IMF's visit and laudatory statement is to
broker reconciliation between Uzbekistan and the West, especially, the United
States, after several years of a deep diplomatic freeze, connected with the 2005
Also in June, visiting ADB representatives sounded an optimistic note on
Uzbekistan's economic growth prospects. The Uzbekistan Today information agency
quoted Liqun Jin, a bank vice president, as characterizing the Central Asian
nation as "an important member of the ADB."
But Russia is Big Brother
Endeavouring to keep Uzbekistan firmly within the Kremlin's sphere of
influence, a Russian delegation led by First Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov visited
Tashkent early in July. The key issue on Ivanov's agenda was energy development.
At the conclusion of his visit, Ivanov signalled Russia's desire to reach a deal
with Uzbekistan on the construction of a new natural gas pipeline. Officials
also signed a deal to jointly construct aircraft.
On July 11th, Uzbek and Russian authorities announced the signing of three
agreements covering labour migration. One accord solidifies the framework for
the protection of migrant labourers' rights. The others are designed to make it
easier for the two governments to combat illegal migration. About 500,000 Uzbeks
engaged in migrant labour in Russia during 2006, according Russian Migration
The three migration agreements are viewed as a vital diplomatic success for
Tashkent. President Islam Karimov's administration has paid increasing attention
to labour migration in recent years, given that it's a major source of hard
currency income for the country. According to some estimates, remittances sent
by Uzbek labour migrants total about $500 million annually, i.e. about as much
as the revenue generated by cotton, one of Uzbekistan's key exports. Up to 3
million Uzbek citizens reportedly leave the country every year to work abroad,
mostly in Russia. Labour migration helps ease the pressure generated by severe
unemployment inside Uzbekistan, a condition that many officials see as perhaps
the most serious threat to internal security.
Playing off the West against Moscow and Beejing
The evident US and EU desire for a rapprochement offers tacit recognition
that sanctions imposed in the wake of the Andijan events have been ineffective
in altering Uzbek government behaviour. With much of its strategic exports --
including oil and gas, gold, cotton and other agricultural products -- going to
Russia, China and other "non-Western" partners, Tashkent has largely
insulated itself against the threat of Western economic punishments.
Some experts say Tashkent is welcoming the Western overtures out of a desire to
play Washington and Brussels off against Moscow and Beijing. Maintaining good
ties with all four powers, many officials in Tashkent believe, would offer a
strong security guarantee for the incumbent administration.
SOUTH/CENTRAL ASIA: IS TALK OF IMU AIMED AT COURTING OUTSIDERS?
There is always one card well worth playing as well - the struggle against
terrorism, the mainstay of the Uzbek regime, and, indeed, of neighbouring state
regimes too. Afghanistan's National Security Directorate announced in March that
at least seven men with alleged connections to the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan (IMU) have been arrested in two northern provinces, Faryab and
Jowzjan. The announcement is the latest warning of radical Islamist activity in
Central and South Asia.
In neighbouring Tajikistan, authorities detained 10 suspected IMU members in
late June as a trial there continued of 14 others facing similar allegations.
Tajik and Uzbek defence officials have warned of "increasing threats posed
by terrorist and extremist groups" in Central Asia.
But could the region's leaders be inflating the threat posed by extremist groups
in order to portray their countries as the front line against terrorism and
boost their leverage ahead of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
The IMU is regarded by U.S. and the members of the SCO as a terrorist group.
Officials have in the past pointed to senior leadership and training ties
between the IMU and al-Qaeda.
At an SCO meeting in Bishkek on June 27th, Tajik Defence Minister Sherali
Khairulloev predicted that militant groups would be more active throughout
Central and South Asia as the last of the current crop of opium poppies are
harvested in Afghanistan.
"Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and IMU followers will intensify their activities
starting from July," Khairulloev said. "As far as their impact on
Fergana Valley is concerned, we are more concerned about the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan. As you know, they are being financed by some foreign governments,
and they have to justify their existence -- because if there is no activity,
there would be no financing."
Speaking alongside his Central Asian counterparts, Khairulloev said that
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have sought to tighten their borders to intercept IMU
Despite official warnings -- and prominent arrests and trials of suspected
IMU supporters -- some observers say there is no evidence to support claims that
militants are more active.
Critics accuse Central Asia's bullying governments of playing up perceived
threats to justify crackdowns on dissent at home and to portray themselves as
crucial to international counter-terrorism efforts.
Michael Hall, head of the Central Asian project for the International Crisis
Group (ICG), a non-profit analytical and advocacy group, said authorities in the
region are likely to issue more statements highlighting the IMU threat ahead of
a major summit in August of the SCO.
Hall said he thinks officials want to show fellow SCO members Russia and China
that they are valuable counter-terrorism allies who deserve greater support.
Hall said that while there has long been some degree of threat in Central
Asia, the IMU is actually weaker now than before the United States declared its
"war on terror" in 2001.
"There probably are remnants of the IMU in Central Asia to this day,"
Hall said. "But to what extent they are linked to what is left of the IMU
currently based in Pakistan -- to what extent they are connected with one
another and to what extent they are capable of pulling off any major acts of
terrorism -- I think it is very difficult to make any clear statement on that
front. I think [that] in many cases the threat posed by the groups is certainly,
to a certain extent, exaggerated."
Matthew Clements, Eurasia editor in the Country Risk Department for the
U.K.-based Jane's Information Group, argued that if there is any danger of
radicalism in Central Asia, it stems from authorities' pressure on religious and
political freedom, as well as a lack of socio-economic opportunity.
"I think the danger of this [situation] is that elements of this could
become more radicalised -- and this is mainly due to government action [and] to
the fact that these people feel that their socio-economic well-being is being
put second by the government," Clements said. "[They feel] that they
are not being politically represented. And also because the populations are
being cracked down upon by the governments. And these crackdowns themselves are
likely to engender greater feelings of radicalism."
Hikmatulloh Saifullozoda heads the "Dialog" think tank in the
Tajik capital, Dushanbe, and is a prominent member of Tajikistan's Islamic
Renaissance Party (IRP) -- the only officially registered Islamic party in
Central Asia. He said that while radical Islamic underground groups might have a
limited number of followers in Central Asia, they don't enjoy much popular
support. Saifullozoda questioned whether what he labels authorities'
"unnecessary pressure" on religious freedom might help religious
extremists win sympathy.
He also warned governments against provoking public anger by needlessly
intervening on sensitive issues like conservative women's wearing of head
"If the authorities solve these social problems, and as long as they do not
interfere in sensitive issues -- which could take an unexpected turn -- I think
no one would support the radical groups," Saifullozoda said.
There is a general consensus among analysts that groups like the IMU currently
are not capable of destabilizing the region on any grand scale. But that does
not mean they could not try to launch isolated acts of terror.
Observers pointed out that democratic reforms -- fostering freedom of speech,
religion, and political activities -- could reduce the risk of radical groups
winning public support.
They also suggested that governments could help their own cause through efforts
to raise living standards by creating jobs and battling corruption.
In poverty-stricken regions like Central and South Asia, these observers warned,
social unrest can take on virtually any form. And regardless of the immediate
threat they present, radical groups like the IMU have a lot of experience at
harnessing public disenchantment.
THE SILK ROAD RUNS THROUGH IT
The Silk Road, from the Mediterranean to the Far East, was once among the
most important trade routes in the world. It remains an iconic
"crossroad" for East-West relations, but the countries it criss-crosses
are poorly understood outside the region.
London's Asia House and the British Council organized a recent forum that asked
whether Central Asia's heritage can help better inform outsiders about a
frequently misunderstood region.
References to the Silk Road inevitably bring to mind the former glory of the
great cities along this ancient trade route. "Hundreds of years ago, the
countries of Central and South Asia were very well known to the imaginations of
people elsewhere in the world -- really because of the import and export of
goods along this network of trade routes that went from China all the way to
eastern Mediterranean, from the Far East to Europe," says Emily Campbell,
the British Council's head of design and architecture, who chaired the March 29
gathering. "Since then, these countries have fallen into obscurity or the
perception of those countries among people in the West has become very
Campbell says inaccessibility and political obstacles have contributed to the
region's isolation. Many of the old Silk Road countries were under Russian or
Soviet rule until 1991.
Word Travels Fast
Campbell says those countries have now emerged from that situation.
In an age when information travels so much faster than cargo, visual cues for
distant lands can be important. The region is flush with them -- from the 4,000
intricately woven pieces of Kazakhstan's "Golden Man" suit, to the
Persian blue tiles reminiscent of lapis lazuli, or the carpets of Bukhara.
Architectural treasures include Samarkand's mausoleum of Tamerlane (Timur) the
Citadel of Herat, and countless others.
But can such imagery translate into tourism and trade revenues?
Observers say the concepts of a modern identity and how to project it outside
the region are a hot topic in Central Asia.
Alismer Faizullaiev, a professor at Tashkent's University of World Economy and
Diplomacy, calls elements of national identity -- like national heroes,
languages or linguistic mixes, and common history -- "identifiers."
He points out that identity is a social constant and can be chosen, altered, or
even manipulated by political regimes. But he says there is also a need for
"We are very proud of our history, culture, and identity," Faizullaiev
says, "but at the same time it's important to go [forward], not just look
back. And I believe that [in] the branding of [the] Uzbek nation -- or any other
nations, like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, etc. -- it's important to bring
together two parts -- something from the past and something from the
Faizullaiev argues that an important aspect of all Silk Road nations is that
their specific identities can be explained by what he calls "cross-roadness."
The term recognizes former trade-nation status -- including being shaped, in
part, by their constant trade contacts.
The British Council's Campbell agrees that there is a need for modern identity
"pointers." She says they can be based on tradition -- for example,
typical ornamental patterns in textile design or in applied arts and crafts.
Campbell called architecture one of the most "visible" new identity
pointers. Well-preserved ancient buildings, palaces, or mosques hold great
attraction. But she says there are also striking modern buildings, for instance
"Sir Norman Foster, one of our own architects, has just built this Centre
for World Peace in Astana, which is an astonishing building," Campbell
says. "Architecture will undoubtedly be part of our campaign. And I
anticipate that some of that will be to do with the idea of regeneration -- the
idea of making the old into something new, into some kind of contemporary
proposition, which Britain and indeed many countries in Europe are very, very
good at doing."
Rory Stewart is a best-selling travel writer and director of the Turquoise
Mountain Foundation to preserve local buildings and traditional crafts in Kabul.
He has walked extensively in the Silk Road region -- including tracing the
Afghan exploits of the founder (Babur) of India's Moghul Empire for his widely
praised book, "The Places In Between."
Stewart agrees that the term "Old Silk Road" remains the best identity
pointer for the region and should be revived. He points out that in the old
days, it was the cities that mattered most on the old route.
"The idea of nationhood there is relatively recent," Stewart says.
"The distinction between these countries was really the distinction between
cities, not between states. Afghanistan itself, of course, largely came into
being in the late 18th century."
Stewart describes Kabul as an old trading city that desperately needs more
investment to become an identity symbol, but he remains hopeful that much can be
In Bukhara in southwestern Uzbekistan, for instance, the number of visitors has
doubled to 420,000 a year. That rise owes much to investment attracted over the
past six years due to the fame of the Old Silk Road.
On this fascinating subject no-one is more illuminating than the great travel
writer, Colin Thurbon. The following is an appreciation of his latest work:-
'Shadow of the Silk Road': Marking time on a historic route
by Lorraine Adam
Colin Thubron, the dean of British travel writers, would hate being called
the dean of anything. A hitchhiking man, he gets drunk with Kyrgyz villagers who
drive headlong toward a truck. He camps in a mud hut with workers in the
mountains of northern Iran. He equably drinks wine out of paper cups with a
Russian beggar. His clothes are dodgy, his rucksack light.
He does, however, speak Mandarin and Russian. And this, his ninth travel book,
is no lark. It chronicles his 7,000-mile, or 11,200-kilometer, journey in 2003
and 2004 (begun when he was about to turn 64) from Xian, China, to the Turkish
coastal city of Antioch.
The Silk Road Thubron travel is, he reminds us, not one road but a
"fretwork" of trade routes dating back to 1500 B.C. Its very name, now
appropriated by everyone and everything from Yo-Yo Ma to aromatherapy products,
was actually coined by a 19th-century German geographer.
Along these trails, the great Chinese inventions made their way west: printing,
the crossbow, gunpowder, lock gates and drive belts, the mechanical clock, the
spinning wheel, iron chain suspension bridges, equine harnesses and
Since Marco Polo first narrated a new kind of text in a Genoa prison cell, much
of the finest Western travel writing about Asia has managed to be both serious
and appealingly haphazard. The master British explorers of Eastern climes have
been beautiful writers who can also be laugh-out-loud funny - Vita Sackville-West
in Persia, Freya Stark in Luristan, Robert Byron on the road to ancient Oxiana
and Eric Newby in the Hindu Kush. Thubron possesses the same gifts.
His account of an unexpected root-canal procedure at the hands of a
chador-wearing dentist is a small masterpiece of painful hilarity.
Yet in "Shadow of the Silk Road" Thubron departs from his countrymen
in important respects. This is not his first trip across these deserts and
mountains, and he saw many of these places before the collapse of the Soviet
Union. Because he travels without a camera, Thubron never compares snapshots,
only memories. In this, he is more poetic than his predecessors; the passage of
time is his book's most interesting feature.
"Over this desolation, centuries of caravans had moved. Through my
splintered window I looked out on their memory with amazement," Thubron
writes in western China. "At different periods, everything on the known
earth had passed this way: frankincense, rhinoceros horn, cucumbers, musk,
dwarfs, lapis lazuli, peacocks, indigo eye-shadow (the monopoly of the Chinese
empress), even a caged lion or two." Today police officers looking for
drugs and bureaucrats protecting borders have replaced the Sogdian traders who
once plied these roadways. As Thubron and a busload of Afghans cross into Iran:
"We were stood against a wall, as if to be shot, with our baggage at our
feet. The Afghans looked bitter and depleted. Many of their passports had been
signed by the illiterate with a thumbprint.
When an officer realized I was a Westerner, I was motioned aside, guiltily
exempt, with women and mewling children, while the men were ordered to take off
their shoes, then sharply frisked. The bags were emptied again into the dust,
spilling out their intimacies: spangled shoes and bras and family photographs.
The few goods people were carrying for sale, the small exchanges of the Silk
Road - pistachio nuts, woollen coats - were fingered, questioned, valued, then
at last, mostly, returned." With its palaces, silk-clad camel drivers and
flourishing trade, the Persian caravan city of Rey "once compared to
Now, Thubron finds, it's a suburb of apartment blocks on the southern outskirts
of Tehran, a polluted city of 14 million whose population has doubled in 20
years. During the heyday of the Silk Road, Thubron reminds us, "Tehran had
hardly existed." Other journeys to other places shadow Thubron's travels.
Eating alone in a Uighur restaurant, "a fleeting nostalgia touched me. I
remembered a young man in Damascus 40 years ago, seated alone like this, eating,
watching. But now those around me spoke not Arabic, but the scuttling,
stressless language of a Turkic people." Thubron's first travel book was
"Mirror to Damascus," published in 1967, when he was in his late 20s.
Thubron last saw China 18 years ago, before its market economy took off. In Xian,
searching for the "coal dust" and "autumnal mud" he
remembers, he finds instead a "hectic procession of shopping malls,
restaurants and high-tech industrial suburbs," the invasion of Givenchy,
Bally, Dior and L'Oréal. He sees "couples walking hand in hand, even
kissing - a Maoist outrage." Yet the past, as Thubron amply demonstrates,
is no haven for angels. In China, he visits an old friend, a professor of
English literature. A survivor of the Cultural Revolution's mass terror, in
which more than a million people are said to have died, this man's concerns are
confined to the forwardness of college students and, ironically, the widespread
teaching of English. As Thubron makes his way through the former Soviet
republics of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, he finds other living contradictions -
like the Uzbek grandmother who reveres Stalin, killer of her husband and father.
The heinous is not confined to relatively recent times. Thubron recounts stories
about the great butchers of the Central Asian past - about Tamerlane's pyramids
of skulls and the Mongols' destruction of Balkh, Tus, Nishapur, Merv and Rey.
"They were not just laid in ruins; they were all but extinguished. The
Mongols herded their inhabitants outside the gates - men, women, children - and
massacred them, even dogs and cats, then ploughed every dwelling into the
ground." In the Afghan city of Herat, which he first visited 30 years ago,
the complicated presence of the past is particularly clear. For Thubron, memory
"had reduced the city to a few lantern slides: a pony trap pawing the
ground outside my small hotel; sunbeams hanging in dust through the pines by the
minarets of Gawhar Shad." A quarter-century of war intervened: first the
Soviet invasion, then the civil war that brought the Taliban to power, then the
United States-led campaign against the Taliban in 2001.
The hotel Thubron stayed in is gone, and the stink of diesel fumes has replaced
the pure air he remembered. Yet he finds that "beneath this clamour an old
suavity and grace survived." As he checks into a hotel near the Old City,
Thubron peers through windows that overlook crossroads "where the Taliban
had once hanged their victims on makeshift gallows." In the distance,
however, "the isolated minarets of my memory reared up in golden pillars
across a blurred sky." Then, in one of the wonderful asides with which his
book is packed, Thubron mentions another of this blighted city's fascinating
discontinuities: in the 12th century, its population exceeded that of Paris or
At first, Thubron explains, the Silk Road had a "gentle decline," but
then, in the mid-15th century, "as Central Asia splintered into belligerent
Turkic and Mongol khanates, China closed itself away. In an astonishing act of
self-isolation, the Ming dynasty unrigged its entire heavy merchant fleet of
3,500 ships, and abandoned trade contacts by both land and sea." Spain and
Portugal built their empires.
Columbus's voyage for the Orient resulted in an entirely different discovery,
while the Portuguese pioneered the sea routes around Africa. The weight of the
world shifted. Yet Thubron locates the beginning of this change not in Europe
but in China, where, back in the 10th century, an unknown inventor discovered
the maritime compass.
With its elegiac tone, "Shadow of the Silk Road" is moving in a way
that's rare in travel literature, sidestepping nostalgia even as it notes its
pull. Thubron goes to places most other sojourners can't - because they're not
so much geographic locations as states of mind, formed from the lifelong
accretion of intriguing facts, mistaken hopes, mysteries.
Here, on civilization's oldest and longest road, which isn't quite a road, he
has found his way into that kingdom and brought it into focus for us.
Lorraine Adams, a writer in residence at the New School and the author of a
Uzbekistan Airways signs contract for 6 A320-200S
Uzbekistan Airways, Uzbekistan`s national carrier, has signed a firm order for
six Airbus A320 aircraft, further enlarging its Airbus fleet. The new A320s will
replace older aircraft in the framework of Uzbekistan Airways' fleet
modernisation programme, reducing fuel consumption and operating costs, Interfax
News Agency reported.
The engines have yet to be chosen. An agreement was also signed to this effect
in Tashkent. The decision of the airline for Airbus follows a thorough
evaluation process. Uzbekistan Airways will place the aircraft on domestic as
well as on international routes, including destinations such as Delhi, Amritsar
and Lahore, as part of a dynamic route expansion plan. The carrier currently
operates scheduled flights to more than 40 cities around the world in the US,
Europe, Middle East and Central Asia. Uzbekistan Airways plans to continuously
increase the number of destinations in the coming years. "We pride
ourselves in offering our passengers a service which meets the requirements of
the world's highest standards to ensure optimal comfort for our passengers. We
constantly aim at improving our service even further, to provide the youngest
and most modern fleet and to expand our air transportation network. The Airbus
A320 is the ideal aircraft for us to realise our strategy", said Uzbekistan
Airways General Director, Valeriy Tyan. "Uzbekistan Airways ranks among the
leading carriers in Central Asia. By selecting the A320, they have chosen the
world-leading single aisle aircraft, offering the most advanced technology and
best operational cost. We look forward to being part of the promising expansion
strategy of this successful and dynamic airline", said John Leahy, Airbus
Chief Operating Officer, Customers. Designed with advanced fuel-saving
aerodynamics including winglets, with proven reliability and extended servicing
intervals, the A320 family has amongst the lowest operating costs of any
aircraft. The cabin is the widest of any single aisle aircraft, which allows for
added passenger room and comfort as well as operational advantages such as
quicker boarding and disembarkation.
Tashkent hosts Uzbek-Indonesian business forum
A delegation led by the director general for Pacific region at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Primo Alui Joelianto, recently visited Uzbekistan
to participate in the business forum of Uzbek-Indonesia, Interfax News Agency
The forum attended by representatives of Uzbek-Indonesian business circles was
held in International business centre in Tashkent. At the forum, issues such as
expansion of trade and economic cooperation between the countries were
The participants of the meeting pointed out the creation of new possibilities
for development of trade and economic cooperation between two countries,
particularly, in the sphere of light industry, transportation, finance, energy
sector, medical and pharmaceutical production. Cooperation between two countries
in the spheres of trade is consequently developing. Indonesian entrepreneurs
familiarised with economic potential of Uzbekistan, and pointed out, the
favourable conditions for foreign investors created in the country. The sides
exchanged views concerning the further expansion of cooperation, joint
development and implementation of several new projects. Currently Uzbekistan
exports component cotton fibre, metals, fruits and vegetables, and other product
to Indonesia. In turn Indonesia exports medicine, transportation equipment, wood
and products from wood.
Uzbekistan mulls joint venture with TEA
A Shaktivel, president of Tirupur Exporters' Association (TEA), India,
accompanied by a 16-member trade delegation comprising of knitwear exporters and
spinners recently visited Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan, a major textile centre, has
expressed its willingness to have joint ventures or give the companies owned by
its textile ministry for takeover with attractive terms and conditions, New
TEA was impressed with Uzbekistan's offer and is exploring possibilities of
establishing textile units there. Sakthivel said the Uzbek authorities had given
details of 10 sick units there. "We are studying their proposals. After
working out the modalities we may make an offer. We are contemplating setting up
a company with 10 or 15 exporters and spinners as shareholders for the takeover
move," he added. Stating that the trip was positive and fruitful, Sakthivel
hoped that if the effort succeeded Tirupur garment units could import yarn and
fabric from Uzbek. The delegation visited many spinning mills, weaving and
non-weaving factories including garment units and the delegation was offered for
joint ventures or takeover of the companies owned by Uzbekistan textile
ministry. Uzbekistan, the sixth largest cotton producer in the world, was also
ready to offer discount in the cotton prices from the Liverpool auction price,
Shaktivel said. Cheap and disciplined labour, low electricity charges besides
income tax holiday for investors and VAT refund for exporters were the
attractive terms from the Uzbek side. As the delegation found the features
attractive in Uzbekistan, the members held discussions with Ruzukulor Rahmatullo,
Minister of Textile and Chairman of State Joint Stock Company. Rahmatullo,
assured the delegation of all support. As Uzbekistan was ready to extend all the
facilities and the delegation showing keen interest, the exporters could bring
yarn and fabrics to Tirupur and use it for garment exports, once the proposals
are materialised, Shaktivel said.