Uzbekistan-Italy: reaching a new level of multifaceted partnership
ISLAMABAD (PEN) : On June 7-9, 2023, it will take place the official visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Italy.
This visit will be a key event in the history of Uzbek-Italian relations that were established on March 24, 1992. Over the past 31 years, a solid foundation for mutually beneficial and prospective cooperation has been laid, a trusting political dialogue has been established – four high-level visits took place – two to Italy and two to Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan and Italy successfully interact within the framework of international organizations such as the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and others, as well as at the interregional level in the “Central Asia – Italy” formats.
Inter-parliamentary ties are consistently developing. Since 2011, parliamentary groups of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate have been operating in the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) for cooperation with the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Italian Parliament. The Italy-Central Asia Friendship Group operates in the Italian Parliament.”
Exchanges at the level of ministries and agencies are acquiring a new dynamic. On the basis of plans and “road maps” of the partnership, interdepartmental interaction is carried out.
An effective mechanism has been established for regular political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries.
Bilateral trade and economic relations have visibly intensified in recent years. As is well-known, Italy occupies a leading position in the world in the fields of technology, engineering and industry and other sectors, and therefore is of considerable interest to Uzbekistan. In turn, our country today is becoming an increasingly promising economic partner thanks to ongoing reforms to liberalize the economy, create favorable conditions for doing business and investment cooperation. Repeatedly held Uzbek-Italian business forums also demonstrated a high mutual interest in expanding industrial cooperation and trade relations. Today, there are all the necessary legal and institutional foundations for this: the bilateral legal framework includes several important agreements in the economic sphere. In addition, new documents are being developed
The Uzbek-Italian Intergovernmental Working Group on Trade, Economic and Industrial Cooperation and Export Credits and the Italian-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce are successfully functioning. In October 2020, a branch of the Association of Italian Industry “Confindustria” was opened in our country, productive relations were established with such organizations as “SACE”, “SIMEST”, “Cassa Depositi e Prestiti”, “ICE”, “AICE”, “Unioncamere » and other industry and regional associations.
In 2022, the volume of mutual trade with Italy amounted to $381 million. In January-April this year, this figure exceeded $155 million.
54 Italian companies are successfully operating in our country. Among them are Danieli, with which the production facilities of a metallurgical plant in Tashkent were modernized, Pietro Fiorentini and Terranova, which is implementing a project for the production of smart gas meters, Opera Srl is a partner in the production of saffron and others.
Currently, a package of new projects is being worked out with Italy in the fields of energy, metallurgy, building materials, horticulture, healthcare, hygiene and others.
“Uzbekistan will become an increasingly important reference point for Europe due to the growth of its geopolitical position in Central Asia. As one of the first countries to establish ties with Uzbekistan, Italy should capitalize on the significant progress made in the region, which will soon open up new opportunities thanks to the announced privatization of strategic enterprises and the development of Uzbekistan’s rich mineral base. Italy should take advantage of Uzbekistan’s openness to the world and pay close attention to the country’s emerging commercial opportunities for foreign investors. Their implementation will require assistance from the authorities and local investors, since private partnerships are also a priority form of attracting transnational investments. This process, in turn, will help to maintain and increase the Italian presence in this strategically important region, which is rapidly renewing, while maintaining its beauty of the Silk Road heritage,” notes Federico Grandesso, a well-known expert in Italy.
A special place in Uzbek-Italian relations is occupied by cultural and humanitarian cooperation, which has deep historical roots. Our aspirations are based on a long and close historical interconnectedness. For example, through the beautiful city of Samarkand in the heart of the Great Silk Road, sung as the “Rome of the East”, for many centuries the roads leading to Rome passed.
The legendary Venetian traveler Marco Polo in his “Book of the Diversity of the World” (XIII century) called the no less famous Bukhara – “the majestic and best city” of the region. Today, the intercultural dialogue between Uzbekistan and Italy is developing much more intensively. Cooperation has been established in the fields of science and sports, art and education.
To date, branches of the Turin Polytechnic University and the University of Pisa are successfully operating in Tashkent. Uzbekistan and Italy are making concerted efforts to support innovation and youth entrepreneurship, and are considering launching a joint program to support youth startups in Uzbekistan.
It is worth mentioning separately the cooperation in the healthcare sector. According to experts, Italy has rich experience in the field of medical tourism, and Uzbekistan has the necessary potential to play a leading role in medicine in Central Asia.
Uzbek culture and art are well known in Italy. In 2018, at the XIX International Film Festival of Asian Films “Asiatica” in Rome, the film “Tohir and Zuhra” was awarded a special diploma for its contribution to the development of world cinema and the promotion of universal values. In 2014, the National Association of the traditional Uzbek type of wrestling – Kurash was established in Italy.
In turn, representatives of Italy are traditional participants in the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival in Samarkand, where they won the Grand Prix (2007), 2nd and 3rd places (2005 and 2009), as well as a special prize (2019 ).
Thus, Uzbekistan and Italy have rich experience and solid foundations for further building up mutually beneficial cooperation and productive dialogue. In this context, the upcoming visit of the head of our state to Italy will be an important step in bringing a reliable multifaceted partnership to a new, higher level.