January 24, 2014
Tomorrow Begins Today
South Korea can be regarded one of the flagship and strategic partners of Uzbekistan. Thanks to the country of morning freshness, the unique projects that have doomed a long term dynamics of development of the national economy were launched across the country.

There are few states in the world that not just have an advanced metalworking, chemical, electrical industry, but can convert the output of these industries in the creation of a single product – a car. The uniqueness of this industry lies in the fact that any car comprises hundreds of different components supplied by dozens of companies across the country. Putting the components together on a single technological platform is a complicated task, which, though, was in the power of Uzbekistan and South Korea. In 1992, the official visit of Islam Karimov to South Korea built the foundation for the partnership, the successful outcomes of which travel both the roads of Uzbekistan and the CIS. In 1993, the parties established a joint venture UzDaewooAuto on a parity basis, which in three years launched a cutting edge car plant in Asaka.

In early days, the company manufactured the machinery mainly consisting of imported components. Later on the manufacture of car components was localized, leading to cost reduction of automobiles. Damas, Tico and Nexia were the first models. This year marks the 18th anniversary of the domestic automobile industry, so it is hard to believe that such a long way from the regional assembly plant to the global automotive brand was passed in such a short time. But it’s true: the synergies of the two countries gave rise to Central Asia’s first automotive industry.

The project of construction of Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex (GCC) at Surgil deposit is another Uzbek-South Korean global initiative, which last year was ranked by Thomson Reuters Company, the global leader in business intelligence, as the best in the category the ‘Year’s Top Deal in Oil and Gas Chemistry’. The institution of gas and chemical complex was supported by both governments, and presidents attended the groundbreaking ceremony. The total project cost is estimated at about $4 billion including direct investments of Korean companies Kogas, Honam, CTX Energy and the National Holding Company Uzbekneftegaz totaling $1.4 billion. Another $2.54 billion are loan funds raised for project financing. The project will ensure annual production of 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 400 tons of high-density polyethylene, 100 thousand tons of polypropylene, 110 tons of pyrolysis gasoline with the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs directly at the complex. The construction of various infrastructure facilities is currently underway at GCC.

Another large-scale project is currently being shaped, but its prospects are huge. This year Uzbekistan will start implementation of a range of initiatives on solar energy development, and South Korea is ready to partner our country in this direction. According to South Korean news agencies, the Korean President Park Geun-hye told about that during her meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov late last year. It is envisaged that Uzbekistan will launch the construction of the first solar power plant, and equip social facilities with solar equipment. Korea, with its rich experience in this field, is the optimal partner to provide Uzbekistan with proven technologies and professional specialists.

Another co-operated project on the establishment of up-to-date facilities for the production of technical silicon, which is used for the production of solar arrays, is being developed concurrently with solar initiatives. One of manufactures of this kind was launched on the basis of Uzbek-South Korean joint venture Uz-Kor Silikon in Navoi in autumn 2012. At its full capacity the processing facility is capable of producing 12,000 tons of technical silicon, and mining complex - 39,000 tons of quartz ore annually. Uz-Shindong Silicon JV is currently finalizing a project on building the second silicon plant with the capacity of 5,000 tons per year in the special industrial zone Angren.

It is noteworthy that Korea partnered Uzbekistan in the institution of the first in Uzbekistan international multimodal logistics hub on the basis of Navoi airport. Korean Air actively assisted the Uzbek side with that. In 2008, the national air carrier Uzbekistan Airways signed an agreement with Korean Air which pushed the establishment of this unique facility.

Since then the airport has undergone tremendous changes. New parking was built for heavy aircraft Boeing-747, a new cargo terminal was commissioned, which is able to cover the whole range of transport services for receiving goods, their temporary storage and shipment, glideslope system for precise approach. Today the Uzbek and Korean parties are actively working on increasing the freight flow.

The two countries actively work together in the field of high technologies. Uzbekistan invited a group of South Korean experts who currently assist in building of the national system of electronic government. It comprises the best experts, including Kim Nam Sok, the current Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Communication, Information and Communication Technologies, who is in charge for the formation of electronic government, as well as training of related staff.

In general, to date the total volume of Korean investments in Uzbekistan’s economy exceeded $5 billion, of which $2 billion have been already disbursed. 413 companies with Korean capital and 77 accredited representative offices of Korean companies operate in the Uzbek market. These figures clearly demonstrate what a mutually beneficial cooperation has been established between the two countries.

There is no shade of doubt that the future of the Uzbek-South Korean relations is solely of glowing colors.

(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)


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