The Dubai International Chamber, which is one of the three chambers operating under the Dubai Chambers, has launched the New Horizons Trade Mission to Central Asia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The initiative seeks to promote Dubai as a global investment hub for companies from select new markets while also driving the international expansion of Dubai businesses. The event saw over 150 B2B meetings between Uzbek business leaders and more than 24 Dubai-based companies representing 16 economic sectors. In addition, the business forum held during the event was attended by over 230 participants, including senior Uzbek government officials, business leaders, and investors keen on doing business in Dubai.
The Dubai International Chamber’s “In Focus” initiative is a platform for Dubai businesses and member companies to engage with public and private sector leaders in strategic markets and help them achieve their expansion goals. The New Horizons programme builds on this initiative, and its first step is identifying new select markets while promoting Dubai as a thriving global investment hub.
During the event, Mohammad Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, noted that Central Asia is an important market with huge growth potential for bilateral trade. Lootah said that the chamber had identified Uzbekistan as one of its key strategic partners in the region, and that they could unlock great trade and investment opportunities for the business communities in Dubai and Uzbekistan. The two countries could achieve their goals and investment objectives by focusing on high-impact areas of shared economic and business priority.
Lootah further explained that the meeting was the first step towards creating numerous bilateral business and investment opportunities. He cited the 49 percent growth in the number of Uzbek companies that joined the Dubai Chamber of Commerce from 652 in 2016 to 968 in 2022, and the total number of Dubai exporters to Uzbekistan, which increased to 200 in the same year. Lootah believes that the success of these trade missions is evident in the relationships forming between Uzbek and Dubai businesses during the first business matchmaking session. He anticipates that these numbers will continue to grow.
The meeting included a panel discussion with local experts from the logistics, customs, and banking sectors. The experts took delegates through the benefits and advantages of doing business in Uzbekistan. Sarvar Khamidov, Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan, noted that their bilateral investment portfolio comprises different projects in various sectors of the economy with a total value of about US$5 billion, and it continues to grow steadily. The UAE can serve as a bridge to the MENA region, while Uzbekistan can well serve as a hub for the Central Asian and CIS markets.
Dr. Saeed Matar Al Qemzi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan, stated that trade and investment indicators between the UAE and Uzbekistan are steadily growing. Trade turnover between the two countries doubled and exceeded US$500 million in 2022. Al Qemzi believes that the two countries are developing investment collaboration in different fields, including traditional and alternative energy, infrastructure, agriculture, logistics, aviation, and tourism. He hopes that the event will contribute to further developing bilateral relations between the two countries.
The UAE imports about 80 percent of its consumed food. However, Uzbekistan has significant arable land and favorable climatic conditions, creating significant investment opportunities for UAE food companies. Construction is another sector with potential investment opportunities. Dubai companies can invest in constructing modern business centers, shopping and entertainment centers, park areas, and high-rise residential buildings. With the largest population of 32 million among the Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan offers ample investment opportunities for Dubai companies in manufacturing consumer products such as tea, perfumes, and soap.
After the pre-arranged business matching session, the New Horizons trade group conducted site visits to potential business partners in Tashkent.