Tajikistan and Uzbekistan intend to set up a joint Business Council and a series of import and export contracts worth some 15 million U.S. dollars are expected to be signed during its first meeting. 

Citing Adham Ikramov, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, Uzbek media reports say Tashkent has initiated the establishment of a joint Uzbek-Tajik Business Council.

The Business Council will hold its first meeting on the sidelines of Uzbek president’s state visit to Dushanbe, Ikramov was quoted as saying.  

According to him, the Business Council will discuss issues being of mutual interest for Uzbek and Tajik entrepreneurs.  A series of import and export contracts worth some 15 million USD are expected to be signed during the Council’s first meeting in Dushanbe. 

As it had been reported earlier, the next exhibition of Uzbek goods will take place in Dushanbe from March 7-9 this year.  

An agreement on holding a Tajik exhibition in Tashkent and an Uzbek exhibition in Dushanbe was signed at a session of the Tajik-Uzbek intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation that took place in Dushanbe on January 10. 

An agreement on holding mutual industrial exhibitions was reached between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at the beginning of the last year.

A delegation of traders from Uzbekistan that came to Dushanbe in April last year to show off their wares in Tajikistan caused a minor sensation.  The fair that was held in Dushanbe from April 17 to 20 was the first of its kind since independence — a fresh signal of a potential thaw between the neighboring nations that have had a generally frosty relationship since the Soviet collapse in 1991.

The goods on display at the Poytakht-90 trading house ranged from the small — everyday products like candy, fabrics, medicine and footwear — to bigger-ticket items like buses, cars, air conditioners and refrigerators.

The fair served as a showcase for around 160 Uzbek companies.  For the first three days of the event, the companies were just displaying the goods, but a frenzy of sales marked the closing day.

Tajikistan held an exhibition of its industrial goods in Tashkent from October 11 to 14.  Some 150 Tajik companies participated in the exhibition that took place at the Uzexpocenter.  They put on display their achievements in mechanical engineering, mining, light and food industries, and aluminum production.  The preference was given to products of the food industry.   

According to data of the State Committee for Statistics, a two-way trade between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan last year valued at US$126 million.  This consisted of Tajikistan’s exports to Uzbekistan estimated at US$57 million and Tajikistan’s imports from Uzbekistan worth US$69 million. 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, ties between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have often been tense due to disagreements on issues including borders, water, energy resources, and transit routes.

Relations between the countries have become warmer after Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in Uzbekistan in 2016.  Mirziyoyev has said that improving ties with Central Asian nations is a major priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev told lawmakers in the Tashkent region on January 6 that important bilateral agreements would be signed during his visit to Tajikistan.  “We will sign many agreements on cooperation in the railway and energy spheres.  We will also be considering many other issues,” he said.